Archive for the ‘reptiles’ Category

chelydra serpentina   8 comments

Posted at 6:07 pm in reptiles

Chelydra serpentina

through tangled
emergents,
a mossy boulder
lurches forth

great clawed feet
plow and paddle
a mucky furrow
to water’s edge

beaked maw agape,
soft pink tongue coils
as cudgel head
swings mightily

bear-trap jaws
snap closed tightly
as my canoe
drifts into view

head retracts,
buried in slimy
leech-encrusted folds
of telescoping neck

unblinking,
two gold-rimmed pupils
regard me with
some suspicion

pushing off,
the snapper cruises
slowly by the
starboard gunwale

ancient eyes turn
to inspect
what appears to be
a common specimen

webbed feet wave
dismissively
as saw-toothed tail bends
to steer a new course.

trailing a filmy
algae veil
the sharp-keeled carapace
drifts into the murky deep.

Bev Wigney ©2009

~ * ~

Yes, I know. Rather a departure from the usual fare on this blog. However, I needed a place to post an image and poem created for the ekphrasis forum on the new Read Write Poem website. I would encourage all poets and lovers of poetry to visit RWP and do consider joining.

Now, about the above photo. It was taken several years ago during a stream survey on the Jock River just west of Ottawa, Ontario. A friend first spotted this very large Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) looking like a great boulder nestled in emergent vegetation along the water’s edge. The above poem was inspired by the photo, but combines a couple of other snapping turtle encounters from my many years of paddling in eastern Ontario. On one occasion, while Don and I were taking a lunch break on Morton Creek, I had my feet dangling in the water cooling off, when a huge snapper surfaced with mouth open just as I happened to pull my foot back in over the gunwale. It slowly drifted back and forth surveying us from above and just below the surface. I suspect that it was attracted by my toes splashing on the surface. In the past, watersnakes have come to me when I’ve been splashing about on the water’s edge in places where there are frogs, so assume that sound, vibration, and water agitation do attract these reptiles.

Apart from poetry, there’s just a little new to report since my last post. I continue to be busy moving the last of my belongings into a storage locker. There’s just a little more work to do on the van to make it roadworthy as a camper vehicle. In spare moments, I’ve been going over maps and plotting a route that will take us to many camp sites between Ontario and British Columbia. I’ve been asking friends for ideas on favourite places to camp or hike anywhere along my route. Around mid-October, I plan to cross into the U.S. to wander down the west coast before making my way to southeast Arizona for the winter. Along the way, I hope to write, draw, paint and catch up on some reading. As many of you know, the past couple of years have been incredibly intense, and the two years before weren’t much better, so I’m looking forward to some real down-time, exploring the road less-traveled, with Sage and Sabrina.

Written by bev on August 11th, 2009

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