Could it be that the shade of Christopher Smart is haunting the corridors of a large and important municipal building in far away Oregon? This unlikely question is prompted by a discovery made by Brit over at Think Of England. In the course of his valuable research into the Official State Crustaceans of the USA, Brit unearthed House Joint Resolution 37 from the Oregon Legislative Assembly, adopted in 2009.
There is nobody called Smart among the Representatives and Senators who passed the Resolution, but it is clear to me that the mad poet’s spirit hovered over whomsoever drafted it. Granted, it uses “Whereas” rather than Christopher Smart’s favoured “Let”s and “For”s in Jubilate Agno, but otherwise this could be a lost fragment of that great poem:
Whereas the Dungeness crab fishery is the most valuable single-species fishery in Oregon, making Dungeness crab an important part of Oregon’s economy; and
Whereas the Dungeness crab is an iconic Oregon symbol; and
Whereas the Dungeness crab is the most delicious of the crab species; and
Whereas the Dungeness crab annual harvest begins each year on December 1, when Dungeness crabs are hard-shelled, full of meat and in their prime; and
Whereas the Dungeness crab harvest ends on August 14 to minimize handling, so that post-molt, soft-shelled crabs can fill out undisturbed; and
Whereas this management method has served the resource well for decades and ensures that the Dungeness crab fishery is truly sustainable; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:
That the Dungeness crab is the official crustacean of the State of Oregon.