Lutra lutra

I have never seen one in the wild but I'd love to - crunching fish bones and rippling over river stones. The genus 'Lutra' sounds so apt for this creature and kind of falls off the tongue like the otter slipping into water.
(Turdus turdus for the thrush and Troglodytes troglodytes for the wren have also amused me since I was young. )
The poem below by Seamus Heaney is, for me, a perfect distillation of otter and human qualities; an observation of love and memory and how can hold still and clear in the flow of time.
Thank you Seamus Heaney for making such a beautiful collection of words.

The Otter by Seamus Heaney

When you plunged
The light of Tuscany wavered
And swung through the pool
From top to bottom.

I loved your wet head and smashing crawl,
Your fine swimmer's back and shoulders
Surfacing and surfacing again
This year and every year since.

I sat dry-throated on the warm stones.
You were beyond me.
The mellowed clarities, the grape-deep air
Thinned and disappointed.

Thank God for the slow loadening,
When I hold you now
We are close and deep
As the atmosphere on water.

My two hands are plumbed water.
You are my palpable, lithe
Otter of memory
In the pool of the moment,

Turning to swim on your back,
Each silent, thigh-shaking kick
Re-tilting the light,
Heaving the cool at your neck.

And suddenly you're out,
Back again, intent as ever,
Heavy and frisky in your freshened pelt,
Printing the stones.


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