Having claimed an empty shell
the hermit crab’s routine is enviable
shedding accretions in one uncorking squeeze
and onward to a more accommodating
elsewhere – if with such ease we could proceed
attachments would stray and waver as strands
perhaps Spanish moss or creeper
our roots, tenacious though, like those of obstinate weeds
scraping off the mud of years, stacking up the keepers
extraneous now, home’s morphing more and more
a packing shed, a terminus, buffered by bubble wrap
its a refreshingly temporary feeling
– how else could we leave?

Related Posts: ‘Scaping the City

Lilian has given us a multi-layered prompt for this week’s Poetics: Shed – and one I can relate to as of now


  1. Jilly’s right. There is a lot in this. So good. The hermit crab is a wonderful metaphor for moving on only when you have to, but leaving everything behind. That thought really stuck with me, that the only way to be able to leave is to leave everything in bubble wrap. No roots.


  2. What a fabulous metaphor to use….and a wonderful creature to use for the prompt word “shed”
    Don’t know if you always have that bright red/blue/green illustration on your blog…but it strikes me that it could be the pattern of the hermit frog…moving, dragging his shell….changing shells….on, off, move..on, off, etc.
    There is so much within your words here. The simplicity of the hermit crab to just go with it……..uncomfortable? Shed it and get another. Accretions…yep….just keep moving and going. An “uncorking squeeze”….”obstinate weeds”….just slough it off, however ungracefully…get another place to put your inner/real self and move on. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura this piece is interesting, dense with thought are your conemplstions regarding moving on, shedding the past, but “stacking up the keepers”. Which I assume means bringing along that which is congruent with the future. Like Jilly, Jane, snd Msry indicated – this piece is layered and requires digging. I am certain I have not yet plumbed its depths… not certain I am clever enough to uncover all its meanings…? But fascinating to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I read this between classes this morning, the words that jumped out at me were “extraneous now” – I read them as Adjective/Noun – almost heard “the” ahead of them. That is how I have always felt when in the midst of a move or significant change and I realize that you are expressing exactly that feel through this poem. That sensation of not belonging in either spot, but in limbo, for the moment. This Extraneous Now. And, yes – refreshingly temporary. It doesn’t last – we get to that new shell and it becomes home and the in-between becomes a forgotten place and time – like a lay-over in an airport. You have expressed all of that so well; I’m truly taken with this poem and reading the comments, I see I am not alone in that. Frame this one, Laura – on the lid of a moving box – hang it up when you arrive 🙂 Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that as title for a future poem – the extraneous now. Your praise warms the cockles (and hermit crabs)- I could even hang this in the shed – there is one where I am going. Thank you so much for this second helping of feedback – cat who got the cream comes to mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I, too, see much to contemplate, mull, and ruminate upon. (Image: tall, long-haired, crazed poet… in black and white spotted stage make-up, chewing his cud… blank stare through the wires of the fence.)

    As a person who has moved many times, for many reasons, I can honestly say the best accompaniment to bubble wrap is alluded to by your reference to the crab. Uncork, pour… repeat as necessary.

    I will come back to read and comment when I am less fried. You are in many of our thoughts and (dare I say it?) prayers.


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