[White-clawed crayfish]

[White-clawed crayfish]

Photo credit: Alexander Mustard/ 2020Vision

Written by Gemma Cantelo

Lament of the white-clawed crayfish

Camouflaged, not vanished
I scuttle to the riffle
Where the ripple rolls crisp downstream

To the long-ago dusk.
Claypots drop – plop – beneath Miller’s Bridge and
Copper kettles whistle for the harvest moon.

Your fresh fingers free me
Into the tannin squelch of river mulch.

My crevice calls,
[   ]

The signal sounds,
[   ]

I lie low in leaf litter,
Brittle limbs scratching your Father’s line and
Dancing ragged spirals in the wastewater.

A plague runs under Miller’s Bridge.
This carapace forged of old iron
Ruins to rust.

Will you whistle my lament to the harvest moon?
I was camouflaged not vanished.

The Miller’s Lobster: Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

Can I tell you all a story? I don’t know how it ends. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure. Pick wisely for me, friends.

I play a cast of many characters, each one looking much like me:

         ~ Canjero
               ~ Gambero
                    ~ Krebiz
                         ~ Écrevisse

We share a common enemy – enemies, to be precise:

                                                                               ~ Dirty water, disaster
                                                                  ~ development and drought.
                                                     ~ The dreaded Signal Crayfish, and
                                       ~ the plague, The Plague, THE PLAGUE.

If the sheep dip doesn’t kill me, the bloodied claws just might. Avoid that sticky ending? Best watch out for fungal spores! They creep in through my soft bits – then GAME OVER early doors.

This story needs a hero – pick wisely for me, friends. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure and I’m worried how it ends.

No doubt you don’t remember, but I used to live round here:

                                                                          ~ Chalk
                                                             ~ Forest
                                                ~ Limestone
                                  ~ Coastal

Hiding in the stream. I’m really not that fussy: just make it nice and clean – with

         ~ Waterfalls
               ~ and sinkholes
                    ~ culverts
                         ~ weirs and dams

Keep out marauding monsters! It’s time to take a stand! ‘Cos I once had eight brothers. Today I have just two. Clinging to the Red List, 20 years from being no more. At risk of global <WIPE OUT>. Alas, alack, adieu.

It’s a choose-your-own-adventure. Pick wisely for me, friends. I want to keep on living, but I don’t know how it ends.

Hey wait! Are you the baddies? It’s not too late to turn a leaf. Let’s

         ~ Build an ark together
               ~ Protect our rivers!
                    ~ Stop the spread!

This weekend by the water, you can do some good instead:

                                                   ~ CHECK for beasties
                                        ~ CLEAN your wellies
                             ~ DRY your precious things

Choose only happy endings and my berry bairns survive. Last year I had one hundred, this spring they’re only five. Listen to the clock tick: it’s time to pick a side. Fairytale or horror . . . <DOT-DOT-DOT> . . .  Player, you decide.

Save the white-clawed crayfish! Pick wisely for me, friend. Make this choose-your-own-adventure the beginning, not <THE END>.

Brought to you by 26 Characters Ltd and The Wildlife Trusts