Friday, August 5, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

A dedicated poet with her own unique style and cool rhyming.  This is a good example of her work.

By Kay Ryan

Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
she can ill afford the chances she must take
in rowing toward the grasses that she eats.
Her track is graceless, like dragging
a packing-case places, and almost any slope
defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical,
she's often stuck up to the axle on her way
to something edible. With everything optimal,
she skirts the ditch which would convert
her shell into a serving dish. She lives
below luck-level, never imagining some lottery
will change her load of pottery to wings.
Her only levity is patience,
the sport of truly chastened things.
"Turtle" from Flamingo Watching © 1994 by Kay Ryan.

Click on the title to go to's posting of Turtle and listen to Kay Ryan read it herself.  Click on the poet's name to learn more about Kay Ryan.


  1. OH my GOODNESS, do I EVER wish I had written this. I SO identify with the turtle and her "patience, the sport of truly chastened things." I also got a shock when I saw we have 302 members now. Holy cow!!!!

  2. Beautiful poem. A turtle's existence may not be very rewarding but i think it is an example of tenacity and patience. Maybe that's why turtle's live, just to remind us that we need to be patient and resilient, to bear it all.
    "Her only levity is patience,
    the sport of truly chastened things."

  3. I've written a poem called Tortoise that is a big hit, but it's nowhere near the calibur of this one. wild! I love it!

  4. Love this one--am definitely jealous. "Four-oared helmet" is an awesome description that also sounds amazing. The last two lines are the perfect finish-- great pick Danny!

  5. Oh, this is gorgeous. There's a town called Owego, NY, where, on Main Street, there have appeared a plethora of home-made signs: SLOW! Turtle Crossing! Apparently a habitat change made them start crossing Main, and people routinely stop, flip on the blinkers, and carry the turtles across.

    Man, I DO wish I could write like this... Amy

  6. A great poem in its simplicity and insight.


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