Ode to the Turtle

by Kim Farrar

Old diligence, basking
on your enduring flagstone
of self-reliance.
You are a mound
of patience.  Your eyes
masked by a yellow
racing stripe, a touch
of slick irony.

You are a testament
to the advantage
of closing up.
Where is the giant sloth
with his great hooked claws?
Or, the saber-toothed
tiger with his over-sized fangs?
Such audacity—
unlearned in the art
of withdrawal.

If evolution is change,
you are the mascot
for sticking with what works.
The permanent frown,
the calloused beak
belie the bean-sized heart
encased between
plastron and carapace.
Your walk teeters
like a ship tossed at sea—
loose cargo shifting
in the hold—suffering
the weight of carrying
one’s home everywhere.