Eco-Columns: An Unfortunate Change of Habitat

This set of poetry encompasses five different poems inspired by the events within our class’s eco-columns. These poems narrate the changes many of the individual organisms underwent, before and during their capture and imprisonment. Some of the poems also provide insight of how it must feel to be in these organisms’ place. The overall themes balance between that of loss and fear of an inevitable end, while others describe the aspect of a changed environment. The observance of these creatures (and the tower as a whole) had provided an interesting topic to write about among our class, especially to those of this group who focused on one feature of the tower. In the end, even though none of the organisms in our eco-columns actually died (save for Francois the tadpole 6/3/16), a lingering question remains of how much their separate lives have changed, and where they’ll head off to next.

Fish in a Bottle

Musa Haydar

I lived in a pond once before

Thousands of cubic feet of water to enjoy

But the giants came with their nets

I swam as fast as I could

But they got me

They put me into a bottle

Cubic feet are now cubic inches

Once a day 100 mL of water drips in slow

No replenishment of my food supply

And two other fish to suffer with

The carrying capacity is beyond it’s maximum

The water is an ideal 25° Celcius

The few plants don’t photosynthesize fast enough

So they put in an artificial bubbler

So I must continue to suffer

Above me a terrestrial bottle

With plants, dead and living ones

And at the top the decomposers munch

On the remains of things that once lived

Will I ever be set free?

Or will the detritivores break me down

And send my carbon and nitrogen back

To the biogeochemical cycle to be used again

Will I see my family and friends again?

Or will my story end in that highest bottle?

The Life of an Eco-Column 

Kaden Kumpelis

‘The first day I am born into this world,

I start with nothing, alone and empty inside.

But then life starts to change and I feel as if I have a purpose.

I now house many different creatures in each of my chambers,

I provide them with life and they provide me with mine.

Each day I feel the 100ml of water poured into me,

I feel each chamber fill as the water passes through me,

All the way to the bottom the water flows.

At the bottom there is a small reservoir of water,

It is like a small pond to me.

Each day I take my temperature to see if it has changed,

It is almost always 25°C,

There are many different aquatic creatures.

Three of these creatures are my favorite,

They swim around in my pool.

The second chamber holds many different plants.

This chamber is filled with many terrestrial organisms.

The Très Fine Maraîchère Olesh Endive plant is one of my favorites,

These autotrophs are photosynthesizing.

These producers produce Oxygen,

This helps other living organisms.

This reaction helps all the other living organisms.

 I am happy that they are a part of me.

The very top chamber is the decomposition chamber,

Many weird but interesting events happen in this chamber.

From pine cones to dead leaves,

There are many different things that are decomposing in this chamber.

But even in the decomposition chamber there is life,

I feel the sow bugs moving around the chamber inside me.

Every day this chamber continues to decompose material.

I live my life with many other living creatures,

I give life so that my own life will have a purpose.

I create life for other so that I can live on.

The three chambers make me, me.

This is my life,

The life of an eco-column.

Home Invasion

Edmund Hernandez

I peacefully move through my shallow, aquatic home

My friends along side me

Suddenly a giant net sweeps through

Neither carnivore or herbivore

It’s not even biotic

It sweeps up the ceiling and furniture

My Friend next to me a few moments ago is gone

The furniture falls from the sky back into my home

Then the net is back

I can feel it behind me

I try to get away

It begins moving to the roof

I am out of my home

Unable to breath

It spits me out

I can’t move

I’m out of my habitat

Gasping for breath

A fish out of water

I can breath again

I try to swim away

I hit an invisible wall

I look around my new habitat

It has a producer

And I’m reunited with my friend

Bubbles explode from a strange pipe

When it’s taken out I can’t respirate

Water percolates down

It is rich in nutrients

Fresh from the decomposers

There is no food

I am slowly starving in this prison

I can’t escape

No matter how many times I bash into the Invisible wall.

Pyrrharctia isabella

Madilyn Chandler

Trapped in a tower, like a princess in silk

Awaiting a change in my course of life

I am surrounded by clear walls, a top a bed of moss

The drip drip of precipitation swallows the ground

Eventually sinking to the bottom.

A product of metamorphosis, and yet not noble winged

Striped and banded in hues of black and soft brown

Beginning as a larva in the fall

Covered in bristle like hair

Frozen till spring for 89 days

Shielded by a guard of cryoprotectant

Emerging victorious in the light greens of sun

Only to become trapped again

But this time my cage is not of my own adaptive abilities

It is a true exhibit, unbreakable, unmovable, Indestructible by my own means

The only company is that of another within

A single brethren in my chamber, but not of my descent.

So I spin and weave myself in web like fibers

A blanket of silk to suit my needs

Under the covers I will change and grow

Pupate and transform

In shape, size, and ability

I am no more

Gone are my 16 feet

Missing are my hairs

In their place soft yellow wings appear

Four to five and a half centimeters long

Light breeze of air, lift me up

Caterpillar to moth

Grounded now loft

In only less than a year.

The Tale of Francois

A light so bright I can barely see,

Down, amidst the duckweed

Tiny little legs, but I can’t even breathe,

At least not the air that my captors breathe,

I feast upon the green, the only food I’ve known

Since I was in the pond so long ago,

Back before water so cool,

Before masters so cruel,

When I could swim as far as I could go.

But can I now? No,

Not until my lungs fill,

Fill like balloons of life,

Not until I shed my tail,

Will my bondage end,

My pain,

My strife.

But will that day ever come to me?

Will I once again see grasses green?

To be free like all my friends?

Until I meet a natural end?

Torn to shreds by a snake?

Swallowed whole by a Heron?

Perhaps captured by a man named Cletus,

Then covered in Shake and Bake?

I am Francois and I am alive,

I am Francois and for freedom I strive,

I am Francois,

I am going to die.


13 thoughts on “Eco-Columns: An Unfortunate Change of Habitat

  1. In my free-form poem “Pyrrharctia isabella”, the text follows the life of a Banded woolly bear caterpillar’s dissent into metamorphosis, previous and post. However, I gained inspiration for my poem from observing the Woolly bear my Eco-column group had caught and contained. So I took it upon myself to wonder “how might this caterpillar feel?” One day we just came along and scooped it up off the ground, where it could have easily been stepped on, and then shortly after it just cocooned itself from society. One can only wonder about how it must feel to transform and change into an entirely different being, and that’s what inspired me to make this poem.

    • I loved your poem! From the first time I read it (like, a week ago(?)) to now, it’s probably the best one in our class! I loved the very science-y lingo and tone it had, yet it was a poem!

  2. Madilyn, I really liked how descriptive you were. You described how the caterpillar looked, how the moth looked, and how the caterpillar changed to the moth in a way that didn’t disrupt the flow of your poem.

    • I agree with Ashley. Your poem was beautifully written and very descriptive. I loved how you showed what it were like to be the caterpillar in the chamber and how it might have felt being trapped in there.

  3. Musa and Edmund’s poems are like 2 different cellmates! Musa’s fish has hope and uncertainty as to wether he will get out of the bottle, like a hopeful prisoner. Mundo’s fish, however, has not hope. He’s a complete pessimist who is fully aware of his surroundings and how he’ll never get out. 2 different perspecitves from the same organism. Nice job giving the fish a voice!

  4. My poem, Home Invasion was inspired by the day we all went out to capture organisms for our ecosystem. I choose to focus on the fish we caught with nets and in my poem the monster represents the nets. I wanted the poem to represent someone getting taken from their home against their will because that is what we did when we took the fish for our ecosystem and put him in a prison cell.

  5. I derived the inspiration for my poem by trying to understand how the fish felt to have been pulled from it’s habitat by something significantly larger than it, and put into a small bottle. I figured it would probably a negative experience, like that of being imprisoned. I chose to tell the story in the voice of a fish because the only one who could really know how the fish felt was the fish itself. The theme I had chosen for my poem was a dark, unhappy theme. I wanted to show how the imprisonment of the fish had similar emotions to the imprisonment of another person.

    • I really liked the choice of perspective in your poem. After reading this work of fine, poetic, spectacular work of art, I felt bad for the fish. Now I want to set the fish free and let it die naturally…
      Good Job!

  6. For my poem I wanted to focus on the eco-columns that we created in class. Many people looked at the different organisms in the eco-columns, but I wanted to write about how the eco-column its self felt about change that the column experienced. I wanted to have a unique look into how the eco-column felt about these changes. In my poem I thought that the eco-column would feel as though it had a purpose when it housed different organisms inside of it. I wanted the theme of the poem to be the purpose of life for the eco-column.

  7. Hello! I am Liam, author of The Tale of Francois. My inspiration for this poem was my Eco Column’s main resident: Francois the Bull Frog Tadpole. At this time our little Tadpole was still alive and well, and I had decided very early on he probably wasn’t going to be happy in his new home. So I decided to take the perspective of our dearest resident Tadpole. Putting myself into our “pet’s” “shoes” I tried to imagine what I would think if I was stuck in a very small Eco Chamber. A challenge for me was making it sad, yet somewhat funny; Thus my problem. I eventually was able to achieve, in my opinion, the blend of humor and sadness I was going for.

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