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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: The Family WHAT?
By Betsy Markman
05/16/08
~2nd Place


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Don't ask me what he looks like, for
A glimpse is all I've caught.
We hoped he'd be a lot of fun. . .
I fear 'twas all for naught.

We bought the best we could for him,
New tank with lid, spare shells,
Expensive sand, salt water tabs,
All the whistles and bells.

We even got a friend for him
Or her. . .we know not which
We only hoped their intro would
Come off without a hitch.

How'd it go, you ask me? Well,
I guess that all depends
On whether hiding in their shells
Makes them the best of friends.

If it does, I guess that means
They like us very much
And gratitude is why they stay
Completely out of touch.

You see, as far as we can tell
We feed an empty tank
It must be sand that ate the food
And rocks the water drank.

The heating pad provides its warmth
For nothing but the air
And no one but the peaty moss
Soaks up our tender care.

But have no fear, they're still alive
Though we never see 'em
Though their shells stay motionless, like
In a wax museum.

We know, 'cause when it's dark they work
With their stealthy movements
Rearranging everything in
Nightly home improvements.

Is this a pet? Well I suppose
You might just call it that
Although by day it seems to be
A vacant habitat.

I've looked it up, and Webster says
Hermits crave solitude
And "crab" is just a nickname for
A grumpy, grouchy dude.

That must explain why our two guys
Stay buried nice and deep
And only dig their way out when
The family's asleep.

I ask again, "Is this a pet?"
I guess it's up for grabs
At least they've lived up to their names. . .
They're true hermits, and crabs!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Wistrom05/22/08
Great! Love the story of disappointing pets.
LauraLee Shaw05/22/08
Hilarious and clever! I've always thought hermit crabs were the strangest pets, but they sure are pretty collectibles! Excellent piece of rhyme!!!!
Debi Derrick05/23/08
This was laugh out loud good. Thoroughly enjoyed a poetic view of "pets."
Helen Dowd 05/25/08
Very clever! Who would ever think to write about hermit crabs! But you did, and it would be interesting to watch them living their night life. I have 3 goldfish and two snails, and the snails are about as interesting as your hermit crabs, but at least we can see them slowly slithering around the glass, doing what snails do.... Good title to your submission. What constitutes a PET?...Helen
Shirley McClay 05/26/08
You had me hanging on to every word, wondering what the pet was going to be! Very creative and entertaining!
Holly Westefeld05/26/08
This was really cute, and I enjoyed the chuckles, though I stumbled over the meter in a few spots.
Jan Ackerson 05/27/08
This made me grin all the way through, and when you rhymed "see 'em" and "Museum", I stood up and cheered.
Karen Wilber 05/29/08
Priceless and creative; I loved it. At first I feared one of your pets would eat the other one. (That'd be a short story.) It's funny, spunky, and educational. Congrats on EC.
Bonnie Shea05/29/08
Your rhyme was clever, funny, and thoroughly entertaining. Great job, and congratulations for your Editor's Choice Award!
Sheri Gordon05/29/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is very clever, and funny. Loved some of the rhymes.
Sharlyn Guthrie05/29/08
Very cute! Love the unique pet angle, too. Congrats on your EC!
Lyn Churchyard05/29/08
Congratulations Betsy on your 1st Place AND your EC. This was just a wonderful rhyme. Clever and fun. I just loved the stanza about rearranging the tank in
"Nightly home improvements"
Well deserved win!
Peter Stone05/29/08
Wow! That's incredible. Hermit crabs are so awesomely cute (when you see them) and this poem creates such vivid images in my mind of the frustration of not been able to see them in action.
Jason Swiney05/30/08
Very creative and extremely fun to read. You have definitely put a smile on the face of every single reader of your poem. Congratulations, well deserved!
Beth LaBuff 06/02/08
Betsy -- wanted to congradulate you on this excellent poem. You've had a couple of great weeks with your writing. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Allan Morelos06/03/08
Congratulations! I'm a newbie in poetry. I can learn a lot from poets like you. I enjoy your poem. It's so witty and fun to read. Thanks for the example.