Friday, June 1, 2012

Whenever I See A Turtle

Dear Mary,

I’m a Vermont poet. I love your poetry and have a number of your books. Your “Turtle” poem in House of Light is one of my favorites.

I have written this poem for you.

Whenever I See a Turtle

            —for Mary Oliver

Whenever I see a turtle
I’m reminded to slow down.
What’s the rush?  True friends will wait,
will understand, will help.
Miss. Harris, my junior high math teacher,
frequently said to the class (or was it just to me?):
Patience is a virtue.
It’s funny how you remember things like that,
several decades later.
Turtles are assuredly patient. They like
sitting on a rock as they soak in the sun.
You never see them sprinting across a street.
Perhaps they are hopeful that a good Samaritan
will give them a helping hand
and bring them to safety.
I say, Forget the eye of the tiger. We should pay
closer attention to the eye of the turtle.

            Jerry Johnson

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