Octopus Love

By on Feb 3, 2018 in Poetry

Brightly colored octopus

“There should be room in the literature on octopuses for some exploration of the sensual, maybe even the emotional ways in which they communicate with us.”
– Sy Montgomery, “The Soul of an Octopus”

An octopus may recognize a man
And let itself be petted like a cat,
At least according to a woman
Who gave a mollusk friendly pats
As she tried to bridge a billion years,
Looked longingly into the creature’s eye
Behind a screen of glass and overcame the ancient fears.
Hope-filled she sought to see into the shy,
Discreet and modest being’s soul,
Dispel the aeons’ stubborn lie.
We view the alien life as a kind of ghoul
Which could not love even if it tried.
Despite the frightened talk, the joke’s on us.
Ours the alien heart, love’s in the octopus.


Leonard H. Roller was born in New Jersey in 1928 and received a B.A. in journalism from New York University and a Master's of Arts in comparative literature from Columbia University. He has been an actor in New York City; a public relations executive in New York and Los Angeles, and conducted publicity and media relations activities for motion picture personalities such as Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Joan Crawford, Paul Newman and others. He also served as a communications consultant (speaking, speechwriting, media relations) for such organizations as Lockheed, Mattel, Hilton and others. He has served as a French interpreter-translator for the U.S. Army in France as a non-commissioned officer for NATO. He has been a mountain climber, tackling summits in the American and Canadian Rockies and the Swiss Alps. He is the author of the training text, The Profits of Persuasion (International Resources, 1986) and has had poetry accepted by Ancient Paths, Love's Chance, The Oak, Timber Creek Review, Storyteller, Time of Singing, Thoughts of All Seasons, and The Lyric.