I came across this short poem on the excellent Poetry Foundation app which randomly selects a poem for your pleasure. Stephen O'Connor is an American poet and novelist but other than that I know nothing about him. But this little gem really caught my imagination.
The existential tussle between appreciating what we have and moving to experience new things is wrapped up in this image of the oyster with its 'torso-foot' attached to a rock. The line of one syllables in the middle of the poem suggest a rush of excitement towards the 'light beyond the over-swirl'. But then, despite the disappointment of 'worry' in the penultimate line, we do know what happens when an oyster 'worries' a bit of grit with its body...
Is this happiness or oyster-life?
This flexing of muscular torso-foot
joy's wonder? This sifting of silt
from food in the shifting chill-dark?
If, in my mind, there is a life of flight
in the light beyond the over-swirl,
must I unfix my lips from this rock
to be right? Or is my apex to worry
quartz against my shell?