World Sea Turtle Day began being promoted by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on June 16, 2014. Sea Turtles are among the oldest living creatures, having been in existence at least 100 million years. There are seven species of Sea Turtles, and all of them are under threat of extinction, due to humans hunting them for their eggs, meat, and shells, and environmental deterioration. Though international trade in all seven species is banned, poachers continue to illegally kill them and steal their eggs. The Hawksbill and Kemp’s species are currently at the greatest risk of disappearing forever.
Linda Hogan (1947 – ) is an American poet, storyteller, academic, playwright, novelist, short story writer, and environmentalist. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Rounding the Human Corners; The Book of Medicines, which received the Colorado Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Seeing Through the Sun. She is currently writer-in-residence for the Chickasaw Nation. In 2007 she was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame. Her other honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Henry David Thoreau Prize for Nature Writing, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Hogan has taught at the Indian Arts Institute and the University of Colorado, where she is a professor emerita. She lives in Colorado.
To read Linda Hogan’s “Song for the Turtles in the Gulf” click:
Song for the Turtles in the Gulf
by Linda Hogan
We had been together so very long,
you willing to swim with me
just last month, myself merely small
in the ocean of splendor and light,
the reflections and distortions of us,
and now when I see the man from British Petroleum
lift you up dead from the plastic
bin of death,
he with a smile, you burned
and covered with red-black oil, torched
and pained, all I can think is that I loved your life,
the very air you exhaled when you rose,
old great mother, the beautiful swimmer,
the mosaic growth of shell
so detailed, no part of you
or able to be created
by any human,
How can they learn
the secret importance
of your beaten heart,
the eyes of another intelligence
than ours, maybe greater,
with claws, flippers, plastron.
Forgive us for being thrown off true,
for our trespasses,
in the eddies of the water
where we first walked.
“Song for the Turtles in the Gulf” from Dark. Sweet. – New and Selected Poems, © 2014 by Linda Hogan – Coffee House Press (reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database)
- Sea Turtle in the Gulf of Mexico
- Header – Green Sea Turtle
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