Editor's note: Anguilla rostrata is the Latin name for the American Eel which is a migratory species whose life cycle includes both marine and freshwater areas. It breeds in the warm waters in the vicinity of the Sargasso Sea and Barbados. The translucent young (sometimes called leptocephali) then are carried by currents toward the rivers and streams which drain into the Atlantic Ocean of eastern North America, southwest Greenland, and the north coast of South America and where, over a number of years, they develop into adults. Notwithstanding the adaptive resiliency of this species, human destruction of their freshwater habitat through pollution and countless dams is making it ever more difficult for the eels to survive. This poem was published in Sea Wind, Bulletin of Ocean Voice International, Vol. 14, No. 3, page 24.
I am a balance of life and death and migration:
n less a billion may not be enough
Are you still watching for me?
Go down to the sunny spring shore to check
Go down to the silver autumn sound and check
Where are the salt marshes and the knothole ponds?
Eels can live anywhere: even in a canal
I am the eternal bounty of the sea washing up onto your shore.
I will be more invisible than leptocephali when I am gone
Watch for my death
Come down to the shore to be sure this spring has come.
.......................Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada, 20 November