Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Song for the Turtles in the Gulf

We had been together so very long,
you willing to swim with me
just last month, myself merely small
in the ocean of splendor and light,
the reflections and distortions of us,
and now when I see the man from British Petroleum
lift you up dead from the plastic
bin of death,
he with a smile, you burned
and covered with red-black oil, torched
and pained, all I can think is that I loved your life,
the very air you exhaled when you rose,
old great mother, the beautiful swimmer,
the mosaic growth of shell
so detailed, no part of you
simple, meaningless,
or able to be created
by any human,
only destroyed.
How can they learn
the secret importance
of your beaten heart,
the eyes of another intelligence
than ours, maybe greater,
with claws, flippers, plastron.
Forgive us for being thrown off true,
for our trespasses,
in the eddies of the water
where we first walked.

Credit


Copyright © 2014 by Linda Hogan. From Dark. Sweet.: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2014). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

Author


Linda Hogan

Linda Hogan is the author of several poetry collections, including Dark. Sweet.: New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2014). She lives in Colorado.

Date Published: 2016-04-27

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/song-turtles-gulf