The Turtle


For My Grandson


Not because of his eyes,
the eyes of a bird,
but because he is beaked,

birdlike, to do an injury,
has the turtle attracted you.
He is your only pet.

When we are together
you talk of nothing else
ascribing all sorts
of murderous motives
to his least action.
You ask me
to write a poem,
should I have a poem to write,
about a turtle.

The turtle lives in the mud
but is not mud-like,
you can tell it by his eyes
which are clear.
When he shall escape
his present confinement
he will stride about the world
destroying all
with his sharp beak.
Whatever opposes him
in the streets of the city
shall go down.

Cars will be overturned.
And upon his back
shall ride,
to his conquests,
my Lord,

You shall be master!
In the beginning
there was a great tortoise
who supported the world.
Upon him
All ultimately
Without him
nothing will stand.
He is all wise
and can outrun the hare.
In the night
his eyes carry him
to unknown places.
He is your friend.





William Carlos Williams

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