A Merry Christmas … On the Reef

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the reef
Every creature was swimming, with fervent belief
That an afternoon feeding would surely appear,
Every seahorse was on Santa’s “good list” this year.

13I05 Seahorses and pagoda

Emo the clown nestled snug in his host,
An Anthelia coral grown larger than most.
The fish on the reef called a Christmas-Eve truce,
and made Wilson the urchin the “Christmas-tree” spruce.

11L wilson Christmas

From the back of the tank there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the desk to see what was the matter.
I flew to the tank, started looking around,
To determine what made such a clattering sound.

The bluish-white lights gave a wintery glow
To the reef and the myriad corals below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a three-inch gold goby with no sense of fear.

13K30 Max feisty

A bold little watchman, this Emperor Max,
With a thousand-yard stare and a liking for snacks.
He hung in mid-water and glared at each fish –
Keeping this reef in line is his Christmas Eve wish!

“Now Cygnus! Now, Ghillie! Now, Ceti and Flappy!
Hey, Emo! Hey, Jett! Quit looking so happy!
From the top of the rocks to the top of the glass
This MY REEF, I tell you! It’s mine to harass!”

13E07 Max Disapproves

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So all of the fish out of Max’s way flew,
giving him a wide berth, and his attitude too.

13L24 Max

And then, in a twinkling, I heard little clatters
like plinko balls falling, or plastic that shatters.
I drew back and once again looked all around –
As Ripley fell off sea fan with a bound.

13L24 Ripley

As a porcelain crab, Ripley just filter feeds,
She had climbed up the fan for her filtering needs.
But she fell from a height and went flat on her back,
and she looked pretty foolish (and that is a fact).

13K30 crab on urchin

The fall made Max angry! His temper was up!
“I said no shenanigans, you foolish pup!”
The watchman’s long mouth was drawn down like a bow,
“Nobody messes with me, don’t you know?”

But then, from the opposite side of the box,
came a large cloud of sand and a clatter of rocks.
Scooter Jett taunted Emo just one time too many:
The Christmas Eve truce? Sorry, now there’s not any!

12K Emo

Emo’s chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh when I see him, in spite of myself.
But a wink of an eye or a twist of a head,
and that poor maroon clown will start seeing some red.

Emo spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
sneaking up behind Max (who was being a jerk)
but with his best thousand-watt Angryfish stare,
Max imposed Christmas peace on all fish, everywhere!

13I15 Max Emo 3

Max returns to his post, floating over the reef,
And gives me what might be a look of relief.
For the moment at least there’s no trouble in sight.
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Ghillie hiding

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

(I’ll be on “blogcation” through January 2, but I look forward to seeing you all in 2014!)