Emma Mascarenhas: The Octopus With Only One Heart

It seems that many nowadays have no faith in fidelity,
And some may mock the need for true commitment and sincerity.
But if you doubt of love as pure as gold and strong as iron,
Hear the awe-inspiring story of an octopus named Brian.

An octopus is commonly a beast of many parts:
They have eight legs, some say nine brains, and usually three hearts.
And thus the average octopus, despite some worthy qualities,
May easily be led into flirtations and frivolities.

But Brian has no truck with such debased ideas of fun.
He has eight handsome legs, indeed, but hearts? He has but one.
And Brian feels that one true love will hold him till he die –
A sentiment not common among other octopi.

And so our slimy hero skims across the ocean bed
To meet the lovely Brenda, whom he’s promised that he’ll wed.
He rushes to their rendezvous, he searches far and wide -
And yet he finds no trace of his tentaculicious bride!

Across the seas, without success, poor Brian seeks his love,
His hopes once cruelly raised by a discarded rubber glove.
O lucky Brenda! This devoted knight will not desert you,
Nor ever be distracted by a squid of easy virtue.

At long last Brian hears some news that fills his heart with fear.
A wise old turtle whispers the word ‘sushi’ in his ear,
And tells of hooks, and fishing-nets, and other dreadful stories.
Such are the times in which we live – O tempura! O mores!

Away jets Brian, off to save his bride, his love, his soul,
Who he now fears may be inside a California roll.
He dashes to the fishing-boat, all danger quite forgetting,
And there is gentle Brenda, lying trapped within the netting!

With nimble suckers, Brian works to free his lady fair,
And in the nick of time unpicks the knots which hold her there.
Then back to safer waters the united lovers sink,
Their modesty preserved behind a tactful cloud of ink.

So let us leave our happy pair cavorting in the ocean,
And learn from their example of invertebrate devotion.
He may take up his many arms to be her stout defender,
But Brian only has one heart – and that belongs to Brenda.

(First published as prizewinner in the first LVU competition)