Friday, August 24, 2012

Hunters of the Turtle ((or, ‘the Turtle Poem’) (in poetic prose))

Part One
Thank God for the Angels

No matter which way the old turtle goes, sooner or later he will end up under or over the waterfalls—(or splattered on the highway)
       Swept to his doom— this he knows.
He looks for a good death—but realizes good or bad—the henchman’s melody doesn’t differ (he has lived like a lion, to the fullest, on the edge, not like a dog, and that has made all the difference to his way of thinking).
       He has learned never to swallow the hook completely (to walk the edge of the highway).
       He’s discovered the sounds of trains, and rain, rivers and the swift wisp of the wind—dipped in the sun—that man with all this, remains discontent, at the end of the day…lost in his existence.    
       What does all this mean to the old turtle? Perhaps that the world is lost, odd, or insane—worse than hiding in his shell for the hunters (but time heals his suspicions, worries and doubts, and he goes on….).

Part Two
The aging old turtle

The aging old turtle has discovered something peculiar about humankind—that their tongues bend more than their kneecaps—how strange.
       The old turtle hides in his shell, looks out as if he is behind a curtain…looking for the hunters of turtles, and the world goes by moving around the heat within the sun, as everyone grabs sparkles of its sunshine, hunters and turtles alike (he’s tired of it all, ‘Nothing new under the sun,’ he brings to mind, ‘… just old hunters with new faces.’)
       He doesn’t feel time passing—likened to rain drops falling, although he does discover a few new little wrinkles here and there—now and then: he calls them: ‘Fine groves in the sand, on my forehead’ —looking in the water—; he even notices some new wrinkles like fishing lines driven deep into his shell, but what the hell, it’s just time passing.
       His legs feel cold and cramped— He knows (because things keep slipping) time is short.

Part Three
The turtle keeps talking

The old turtle has been talking—more like whispering—into my ear; he has much to say, he’s trying to stir my emotions, in this new descending season.
       I don’t mind all of that, but he complains about my hairy ears. Grumbles like an un-tuned guitar.
       It’s not comfortable. I guess it’s the way of old aging turtles. If it is not me he bothers, it’ll just be someone else, so I tell myself. Sometimes I want to tell him to just be quiet—but I nevertheless bend my neck to his level to listen: “Happiness is doing a service to others,” I tell myself, that’s God’s rule, like it or not. This rule of thumb has been going on for thousands of years, it will not change.
       I’m sure it will happen to me, perhaps sooner than later, and the listener will say: “Listen to this old man crackle, like an old aging turtle,” as I try explaining my life, or parts of it.

       It’s time now to push the old turtle’s head back into his shell.
       Drag the dock in—as they say, pile the wood up, for the coming winter, and enjoy the silence in a warm bed.

       ((The old Turtle, his bones appear eager to be laid away in the grave) (he doesn’t wish to be permanent, in his impermanent kingdom—like us; he doesn’t even know.))

Part Four
The Turtle Poem

Some poems have their own skins, like bananas and oranges, not all of course are sweet, and some are bitterer than others, the poet knows words are abundant like fruit — he or she can be selective as in this poem.
       The dear old turtle, abandoned his turtlish-life (to a certain degree; as often animals do, or are force to do), to live and hide among mankind—sometimes among skyscrapers and highways, and sometimes deep within the swamps. This old turtle, He’s even learned the human language to a certain degree—not really so uncommon, certainly his gestures, or body language.
Well, I must say, before that took place, perhaps deep in the woods he may have lived a scandalous life, perchance an extravagant one, by choice alone maybe—who’s to say?

       I don’t want to alarm you, but so many old turtles have been lost in the bog. This old turtle—screwed to have lived so long—evidently slipped through the bushes, that is why he is in this poem.

       In closing, let me simply say: things move slowly in the woods. I don’t want to try and cheer you up, it’s all right that the turtle is now long gone, people like animals stroll about, some come to meet and greet you; while on the other hand, human or animal (sometimes more alike than not), come to eat you, walking over your footprints century after century—shortening your days, all trying to make a home—all trusting that the world will not end, before their time—while scholars cobble together to product it, while others try to preserve it—it’s simply the way it is, odd and mysterious as it may look.

The Author with his turtle hat on, sitting in the Plaza de
Arms, in Huancayo, Peru, 7-13-2011 (afternoon)

Note: “Hunters of the Turtle”, parts one and two written 7-7-2011; part three and four written 7-8-2011 (No: 2965 thru 2968); illustration by the author,
Photo by Rosa Peñaloza