The Maine Camper’s Slug Song

posted in: Poetry 1

I wrote “The Maine Camper’s Slug Song” a few years ago when I was doing a play up in Maine. This was an ode (ode?) to the truly enormous slugs that emerged at night and also an exercise in meter: the inspiration for the piece was John Betjeman’s “A Subaltern’s Love Song.” Yes, I know that the creatures I saw aren’t actually sea slugs — sea slugs live in the sea — but it paints the correct picture of the Atlantic Oceanic monsters that made me lose sleep many a night. Enjoy!


The Maine Camper’s Slug Song
by Mary Fons

The sea slugs of Maine, the sea slugs of Maine,
Lengthened and strengthened by Northeastern rain,
What frightening sizes you all seem to be,
There in damp grasses, too close to me!

Like hot dogs or cowcumbers – oh, how to describe?
The long, skinny, tube-like shapes that do hide
In grasses in yards of Tom, Dick, and Jane,
We are weak from your grossness, oh sea slugs of Maine.

Oh sea slugs of Maine, oh sea slugs of Maine!
How could I possibly sleep once again
Without nightmarish visions of slimy long necks
And trails of your travels and nocturnal treks.

For an encounter occurred tonight in the fog,
While islanders slept, sawing log by large log,
I met with a sea slug and had to then log,
My experience in this internet blog.

Nearby the front door, after some time away,
I found one of you, smack dead in my way–
Dead, yes indeed, I’d prefer you remain,
You foul gastropod! you mollusk of Maine!

But lo the courage I found I had not
Sufficient enough to kill on the spot–
What would I use? My shoe or my fist?
How might one murder a foe such as this?

For your body was tensile; gooey and brown,
And I had no stomach for stooping way down
To meet at the ground with the whites of my eyes
A creature’s existence which logic belies.

And so with a shrug and a shiver of spine,
And a curse for a world that created its kind,
I sidestepped and wide-leapt its long, curvy line,
Dignity shattered but otherwise fine.

Oh sea slug of Maine, oh sea slug of Maine,
I am bested tonight – and this is quite plain,
But sleep with eyes open – all four of them,
For one night we’ll duel and you’ll not find luck then!

It’s not that I hate them or wish them great pain,
But g-ddamn they’re disgusting, the sea slugs of Maine.