To conclude my Wild Verses series, I circle back to the sea again (and to a bit more coral, which appeared in the first sample of this series). “Green Turtle Picture” is an unfinished poem I first drafted in April 2009 and revised in August 2014 for writing group. This excerpt begins with stanza two and ends toward the poem’s second half.
Under water, a green turtle looks at the camera. The inanimate, animal expression accuses. The cold stare— framed by cold, clear-blue water, and clustered blue-green coral, locked within the same space as its cold-blooded frown and terrible, wrinkled neck, its hunched, armored back an echo of my subluxation and chronic dorsal inflammation—that look, rising above the shadows on its flippers, belly, tail, imposes, penetrates, disturbs. I want to look away, bury head into body like it can, retract the mind down into the heart and let the two mingle, and educate each other. Give purpose to small humps below necks. But I can’t. I am out in the picture of reality, exposed to the danger of capture, of shocking spotlight ogling a creature as it faces the unfamiliar.
copyright C. L. Tangenberg
I hope you’ve enjoyed this 10-post showcase of my nature verse writing, begun last month. To start from the beginning, go here.
My post about Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Darkling Thrush” featured the first sample I plan to build on for a series of favorite bits of nature poetry by famous poets.