Friday, November 12, 2010

The Chambered Nautilus, Oliver Wendell Holmes, poem

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,--
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more

-an excerpt from the poem from Oliver Wendall Holmes
This post was inspired by a photo similar to the one above.  I had somehow imagined that the chambered nautilus was a shell that simply lay on the ocean floor.  Seeing one actually swimming was inspiring!  The amazing design of the nautilus, with its closed off portions as time passes, is unique and a fascinating research topic!

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