The Lobster

By Carl Rakosi 1903–2004 Carl Rakosi
Eastern Sea, 100 fathoms,   
green sand, pebbles,   
broken shells.

Off Suno Saki, 60 fathoms,   
gray sand, pebbles,   
bubbles rising.

and slow-
motion benthos!

The fishery vessel Ion
drops anchor here
plankton smears and fauna.

Plasma-bearer, visible
sea purge,
                sponge and kelpleaf.   
Halicystus the Sea Bottle

resembles emeralds   
and is the largest   
cell in the world.

Young sea horse   
Hippocampus twenty   
minutes old,

nobody has ever   
seen this marine   
freak blink.

It radiates on   
terminal vertebra   
a comb of twenty

upright spines   
and curls   
its rocky tail.

Saltflush lobster   
bull encrusted swims

backwards from the rock.

Carl Rakosi, “The Lobster” from The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (Orono: The National Poetry Foundation, 1986). Used with the permission of Marilyn J. Kane.

Source: The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (National Poetry Foundation, 1986)

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Poet Carl Rakosi 1903–2004

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Subjects Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Carl  Rakosi


The son of German Jewish parents, Carl Rakosi was born in Berlin in 1903, moving soon to Hungary following his parents’ separation in 1904. Immigrating with his father and stepmother to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1910, he eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin (where he edited the literary magazine) and later earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. Rakosi’s involvement in the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Nature, Animals

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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