North Carolina Sea Grant

January 21, 2011 | David Green

seafood traditions

All hail, all hail, the worthy clam.

No better food, I sware there am.
You sit there locked up in your shell,
your inner thoughts you never tell.
Your little siphon like a snout,
the goodies flowing in and out.
And there you sit on bottom bay,
and pump away throughout the day.
Your sex may change, the textbooks say,
a boy when born, a girl today.
You look the same and none can tell,
and yet you reproduce so well.
Into the sea you spit your spawn,
and baby clams so soon are born.
They swim about with little hairs,
and may end up most anywheres.
For “bout a week they spin around,
then clams-shaped to the bottom bound.
And here they sit throughout their life,
and never more to seek a wife.
You eat all kinds of algae stuff,
and never seem to get enough.
Your mantle grows and then your shell,
with little rings no age to tell.
You live among the bottom ooze,
and never take of bottled booze.
And still you grow both strong and bigger,
to become a little bottom digger.
Up and down the ooze you go,
until the winter’s snow doth blow.
Then in the mud you hibernate,
without the warmth of love nor mate.
Thus in the spring the clam man comes,
his mind all filled with money sums.
His rake on the bottom he doth scratch,
in hopes he will collect a batch.
Arise, arise, thee worthy clam.
Fear you not, this waterman.
For half your shell upon the table,
will soon feed Mike or Cliff or Mable.
Such was your reason to be born,
Don’t sit there in the ooze and mourn…

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