The Giant Clamshell at the Carnegie Museum

It opened like a sandwich, insides yellow as old mayonaise,

An innocent way to begin a deeper and somewhat darker poem. Patricia Schlutt, age 15

edges worn smooth from dirt and grease on the hands
of children who, passing between dark-lit dioramas,
stopped to marvel at such a giant thing. The sign said
it was a clam, but it looked more like something
from a garden languishing in that scant museum light, yearning

"Yearning / for water and sun" adds much to the description. Amy Fleming, age 17

craving water and sun. A bird bath for geese or swans.

This proves how big the clam is! Brooke Helder, age 13

Unimaginable it had ever been alive, home to the raw
muscle we knew as clam from one-week vacations

I love the contrast between the speaker’s prior experience with clams, and the enormous creature she is being confronted with here. Kara Madden, age 22

with our parents at the shore. That salty tongue we would eat
only if it were served to us at Howard Johnson's on a bun.

Here and elsewhere show the view from a child's perspective. Patricia Schlutt, age 15

Singular object elevated in memory from that palace
of rare and ancient artifact: the varnished skeleton artifacts?

"Palace" gives the word "museum" away without saying it. "Palace" is a great word to use because it's big with many floors! Brooke Helder, age 13

of a dinosaur dumbly posed in the middle of the Hall
of Dinosaurs, a withered mummy,

This is giving a picture of the whole museum, and how the clam was the most alien thing there. Patricia Schlutt, age 15

a few stuffed birds,
a second-floor glass case where a tiger attacked
a desert nomad where life had once seethed.

You can picture the tiger/camel scene like it's right in front of you! Brooke Helder, age 13.
Above at end of stanza is a strong sentence. For me this sort of changed the mood
of the poem. Colin Butgereit, age 20
Awesome simile below; it comes from nowhere but fits well. Colin Butgereit, age 20

Like the human souls

The part about the souls is believable because siblings tell each other stories like
this. Amy Fleming, age 17

we learned floated somewhere unseen without bodies, waiting
for judgment day when water would again overtake the land,
bodies rise from graves, the whisps of souls pour back
into their containers. But this creature had no soul, was a crude
assemblage of digestive tract and reproductive organs
attached to a massive foot. Souless Mollusk, large as us.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.