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​ Holothurias, also known as sea cucumbers, are creatures that live lying on our seabed. Relatives of stars and sea urchins, they contribute to biological balance by filtering water and favoring other organisms, such as algae and corals. They are considered a delicious food in Asia to the point of even costing six hundred dollars a kilo. For this reason, fishing was banned in the whole Mediterranean two years ago.

Sea cucumbers have an extraordinary characteristic: when attacked they have the ability to expel internal organs and then regenerate them in a short time.

The Polish poet Szymborska dedicates the poem “Autotomy” to them and I dedicate it to all of us, with the hope of being able to be a bit like these incredible creatures: to die as necessary, to grow back as necessary.

In case of danger, the sea cucumber splits into two:
gives a self to the world,
and with the other flee.
Suddenly splits into ruin and salvation,
in fine and award,  in what has been and what will be.
In the middle of his body an abyss opens
with two sides immediately alien.
On one death, on the other life.
Here the despair, there the trust.
If there is a scale, it has immobile plates.
If there is justice, here it is.
To die as much as necessary, without exceeding.
Regrow what is needed from what has been saved.
Yes, we too know how to divide ourselves in two.
But only in body and interrupted whisper.
In body and poetry.
On the one hand the throat, the rice on the other,
a light laugh, already suffocated.
Here the heavy heart, there non omnis moriar,
only three little words, three feathers in one flight.
The abyss does not divide us.
The abyss surrounds.

"Autotomy" by Wisława Szymborska

  (Translation by Pietro Marchesani)

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