Turtle

You have so few natural enemies
don’t you?
Who could get past that armour?

Only the most dangerous animal on Earth.
Of course.

I close my eyes
and imagine you
receiving another body blow
from one of us.
Spinning edge up.
Left wobbling there
on your plastron fulcrum.
Knocked hard again and landing on your
hollow-sounding back.
Down to rocking side to side
seemingly endlessly
on the hard asphalt
until someone gets you dead on.
And your killer probably
didn’t even know it.

But you were such a success,
worldwide,
until we popped up.

Annihilation in the West.
Prepackaged meat for the voyage in the bad old days
but now we’re kinder and
drain your habitat away for our money pits.

Poached to extirpation in the East.
Because, this is rich, you live a long time.

And what of the world
you hold up asking nothing in return?
Our western Indians
went only that far
Real Indians put in elephants too.
But the Africans
show our love hate more accurate
for they consider you either the
wisest of animals
or a trickster.

I can only hope you have
enough tricks up your shell for us.
You’ll need to hide far
deep
cold
and long enough to outlive us
for we are the Joker and laugh as we kill.

And not the Cesar Romero version either.
No.
We are the psychopathic Heath Ledger version.

-2010/10/6&19-

About tgrignon

I came I saw I rented the DVD
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5 Responses to Turtle

  1. Karen says:

    Did you see one on the road? Or, just musing? Appreciate your poem… sad, but true.

    • tgrignon says:

      I have certainly seen many turtles squished on the road but the real inspiration came from a lecture on the state of reptiles and amphibians at a recent Guelph Field Naturalist meeting.
      I’ve started to take some action by reporting turtle sightings I’ve made (alive or dead) on my daily bike commute to work to an online Ontario Nature atlas project.
      But in the end… I just love turtles in the wild.

      Here are some links:
      Turtle Anatomy
      Legendary Turtles

  2. David Suzuki says:

    And look what happened to Heath Ledger?

    Funny thing was that I saw an oppossum ( possum??) walking down the top of our backyard fence the other night. I hadn’t seen one on the street in a few years which got me to thinking…

    why is she here now? What changed? Ah yes- perhaps the trail construction.

    Which finally go the go ahead. Why- part of stimulus iniatives?

    Why are we having those?

    The recession?

    Although recessions are a “natural” part of the free market economy and occur every 7 years or so, why was this one so rough?

    The mortgage bubble bursting in the US and the trickle down effect of Investor’s greed, and some psychotic behaviour on Wall Street.

    Kind of like the Joker!

    Sincerely,

    Frank Gorshwin

    • tgrignon says:

      Thank you David/Frank/Doug. It’s not often that I learn about local possums, trails and economics in the same post. I’m so lucky to have a neighbour with multiple personalities.

  3. Colleen says:

    Well put.

    Thank you for starting to document such mortalities. The world needs more people like you to notice their surroundings and communicate your findings.

    There is a shimmer of hope. If we bring this kind of awareness to people, maybe people will slow-down when driving past a “Turtle Crossing” sign, or on a road boardered by wetlands. It starts with a voice, and maybe some exposure.

    Snapping turtles are a lot softer than they look, and certainly not dangerous.
    People tend to fear and destroy things they do not understand.

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