“Ode to the Hull of a Mud Turtle” by Barbara Leonhard

Juan Re Crivello, the creator, Director and Head Editor of Masticadores, has created Magazine, which can be accessed on the menu on his site, Gobblers & Masticadores. I have a poem up there today.

My husband, Dierik, brought home a mud turtle shell that he found on one of his walks. As I placed it on the window sill overlooking the patio, I thought about the symbolism of turtle shells. In many cultures and myths, they represent longevity, good health, and protection. Some Native American beliefs depict the turtle carrying the world on its back, representing the creator. The turtle also symbolizes Mother Earth to some indigenous groups.

The shell is also a powerful symbol. To some Native Americans, the shell depicts the lunar calendar with 13 moons. The shell design is a connection to the sun, moon, and stars.

As I was thinking about the hidden messages in the turtle shell, the poem unfolded into stories about the life on my patio, which became allegorical in a way. I saw aging people in the Norfolk pine and umbrella tree. The squirrels, birds, and raccoons represent busy people competing for resources. Their scurrying about seems anxious and fearful. Indeed, life has its dangers, as the part about the raccoon kit shows. The patio itself represents a world worn down by trampling humanity. Yet the mud turtle shell can hold us all up and carry us to the stars.

There is no reblog button with the publication, but people can comment. After today, February 22, 2023, you can access the poem by looking for my name (or other writers’ names) under the tab button for Magazine in the upper right-hand corner of the Gobblers & Masticadores menu.

Ode to the Hull of a Mud Turtle
Looking past the shell we found on the creek bed -
from the mud turtle wedged between two branches
under storm-ravaged waters, struggling
to get to the surface for a breath, his hulk
now resting on a dining room window sill -
I view the patio.
A bedraggled fence
stained by rain and life left wild.
The rim, scraped by squirrels and raccoons.
Birds perch there waiting for a spot
on an upraised corner of the patio floor,
where I spread bird seed each morning
for the wrens, a pair of mourning doves,
and cardinals, but the squabbling squirrels,
steal the sunflower seeds and scatter the birds.

Ivy sneaks between the tainted boards
and wraps around the trunk
of a 9-foot Norfolk Pine,
hauled there on a dolly and now
standing in a pot of fresh soil,
where squirrels bury seeds and nuts,
unaware that the pine will be rescued
back to the dining room before first frost……

(Kindly continue to Magazine to read the rest of the poem…….)

Featured Images: by GDJ on Pixabay

Amazon Best-Selling Author

Pushcart Nominee, 2022

Facebook: Barbara Harris Leonhard /barbara.leonhard

Twitter: @BarbaraLeonhar4

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