A Shell-tered Life

William A. Tatum 1953 (Washington, D. C.)

I've sat here on this shelf, unmoved
for quite a long duration;
now I'm afraid that I'll be made
to suffer from stagnation.

I look around and notice others
that are of my kind,
yet, they appear quite settled here,
and haven't lost their mind.

Are they alive? Can they cry out?
What keeps them all at ease?
Was I around when they were found?
Would someone tell me, please?

What force of nature brought us here,
without our mute approval?
I liked it more back on the shore,
before my rude removal!

I used to be a domicile
for someone in the sea,
my pearl-lined dome was someone's home
but, now that someone's me!

There is an upside here, however;
for what seems like a year,
those windy sprays are now at bay,
not blowing in my ear!


About this poem

Imagine a seashell being brought home from the beach and placed on a shelf among a collection of other assorted seashells. If its mind were animated with rational thoughts, what would it be thinking?

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Written on June 04, 2022

Submitted by williamtatum on November 26, 2022

Modified on March 05, 2023

51 sec read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 745
Words 165
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

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