and they withdraw. Gifted
with a telescopic neck, they know
when to stick it out and when not.
Feet or flippers,
depending on land or sea,
turtles have never relied on speed
for survival. Just ask the hare.
they tolerate a lot, but
go too far and they’ll bite,
never letting go ’til sunset.*
are naturally cold blooded, though
they have been known to switch
to licentious in less time
than it takes to get from aught to sixty. Still,
you’ll never see a turtle flaunting buff.
We should learn all we can
about this unique creation
because what Baba Dioum said
“In the end,
we will conserve only what we love,
we will love only what (we think) we understand,
and we will understand only what we are taught.”*
*Baba Dioum is an environmentalist well-known for the above quotation, which comes from a speech he made in 1968 to the general assembly of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
*Beware of being bitten by a turtle; it will hold on till sunset”
Harry Hyatt, in Folklore From Adams County, Illinois
Turtle graphic adapted from a Google image.