Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Heading for the beach or extinction

Apparently, I posted the wrong link on the Toads site, and am attempting to fix that right now, nearly midnight, Mountain time.

I wrote this poem, then went to Wikimedia Commons to see if I could find a photo of sea turtles on the beach. Instead, I blundered across a story from March, 2010, and found it related to what I had written.
At the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Peggy, down in California, asked us to write a poem from the point of view of an animal (neither dog nor cat) and I immediately thought of the tiny turtles we used to have as "pets" when we were children. They were about the size of a Loonie or a Tooney (Canadian one- and two-dollar coins, about the size of silver dollars). We thought we were taking good care of our "pets", but they inevitably expired.
But once I had turtles on my mind, the poem pretty much wrote itself, as these things do sometimes.
So here it is.

Olive Ridley Turtle,
I'm the last
in a long
line of turtles:
if I last
I will lay
my eggs soon,
in the sand 
near the edge
of the water,
and this year
I know I’ll
have room.

We used to fight
over egg-laying space,
for places to dig
in the sand.
There were many of us
and we made such a fuss
you’d think we were
going extinct.
But the laugh is on us...
or at least it’s on me,
because extinct is what
we are going to be.

If I don’t reach shore
and get my eggs laid,
I’ll empty them out
in the water,
and food for the fish
is all there will be
of my last son
and last daughter.

But don’t cry for me, people...
please, don’t you see,
it happens to all
late or sooner.
We think we’re so great,
the world ought to know
to protect us from 
all of the dangers.
 We’re all just the same
and I think it’s strange,
we’ll all be extinct—
but still strangers.
by Kay Davies, October 9, 2013               


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
A heart-rending thought. Each generation, it seems, has to go through a learning about interacting with nature. All we can ever do is 'best practice' now. It will never be enough though. YAM xx

kaykuala said...

Their extinction is a consequence directly of man itself. It was a thriving business to sell turtle eggs until recently when they were declared as protected. And selling them are considered illegal now. Nicely Kay!


Sherry Blue Sky said...

A sad thought, Kay, and I so feel for the happy you wrote about them. (I love this prompt!) Needless to say:)

Peggy said...

This is sad Kay. Thanks for posting this. By the way the link posted on Mr. Linky took me to a news article about the turtles--I got here from the link in the sidebar.

Vandana Sharma said...

We should all work towards conservation, or it will be too late.

L. Edgar Otto said...

As I said, very partial to turtles. now they were before the dinosaurs and live the longest lifespans. I just read on the science magazines that the longer the lifespan of humans the less room for other species to share the wild. As my comment to Grace, this relates to the issues in this prompt. Can there be a balance? Like the sea turtles off course too far into cold waters do we cease by accidents... even the shell of the sky may not be enough to sustain us if we do not take a good look at this planet, yes and fish the sky but the pure spirit of all creatures is eternal...and the beach itself can be endless in our bearings and walks...

Susan said...

I'm glad there's a poem! It's not like you to direct us to the endangered site without putting in a few words of your own. And this is such a humble character, determined to lay the eggs, and yet full of wit and satire: how overcrowding turns on us and how we lived and die strangers.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Awareness is key to bringing about some change in our attitudes towards animals. Poetry like this is vital in spreading the message.

Margaret said...

An apt warning, for sure! And such acceptance of fate.... they are truly gentle souled creatures. I watched one, transfixed, at an aquarium in Charleston, SC. Her movement was therapeutic

georgeplaceblog said...

we’ll all be extinct— but still strangers.

Sad poem and esp., because it is truth.

Lolamouse said...

I love turtles, and it's heartbreaking to hear about the destruction of their nesting grounds. So sad.

Grace said...

I feel you on their struggles to live & not get wiped away to extinction ~ Good one Kay and Happy Thursday ~

Jim said...

The perfect poem to help spread the word. Well, somebody has to be the last one out. I wonder if it will be a human?

BTW, the documentary I watched on this showed poachers stealing those eggs, very blatently.

Phil Slade said...

Kay you really are a fine poet. This one is so true and meaningful that I hope it can reach a wider audience.

Ella said...

You really touched on emotion-no one is exempt from extinction...scary and so vividly real! I feel sad and know we all need to do what we can to save all the living creation on earth! Powerful poem~

TALON said...

Gosh, but it's so disheartening to realize how many species have left the world and heartbreaking to realize how many more teeter on the edge of complete oblivion. What on earth are we doing to this planet?

humbird said...

Thank you for sharing, Kay, this sad article and your poem in response, an important message to bring public attention to.