English poetry

Poems in English


Steve's tears

My beloved called to me to come and see Steve’s
Tears, he was crying on TV; Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Man,
And they weren’t crocodile tears. Harriet had died,
Steve could not contain his tears and freely cried,
Which shouldn’t surprise, he wears his heart openly,
But Harriet’s demise was as cruel a testimony to man’s
Inclement idiocy as you’d ever get. Harriet was 176
Years of age; impossible you say, patently ridiculous,
No one lives that long, well you’re wrong. Harriet was
A dome-shaped Galapagos tortoise, among the keys
To Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and she’d been a guest
At Australia Zoo. It is possibly true that Charles Darwin
Took her as an egg or infant tortoise from Alcedo, Isabela
Or Santa Cruz to England, and after that sojourn,
Around 1860, she found her way back to become
A fixture at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Then
Most recently the Zoo. Harriet was a living link to
Our profligate past as well as a credential we are
Going to find essential for admission to a future
We may have already sold our rights to.
I squirm when I read how her brothers and sisters fed
Sealers and whalers who raped the seas, stored alive
For months on their backs in stinking holds of leaky ships
Because of an evolutionary slow rate of metabolism.
Nothing quite like keeping your steak alive…
You’ve survived the cliché ‘brink of extinction’ before
And lived to slaughter new generations of ancient myths,
But Harriet’s kind has survived, only just, in small numbers
In the Galapagos because of the Charles Darwin Foundation.
Would that we could extend their tenure from the islands
To the seas and stop the rapacious Japanese
From killing our whales.


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Poem Steve's tears - Ivan Donn Carswell