Editorial Introduction. — This section is devoted to poetry involving turtles, representing either reprinted previously published or new unpublished material. We encourage our readers to submit poetry or songs for consideration, either their own material or work by other authors. Poems may be submitted to Anders G.J. Rhodin, Chelonian Research Foundation, E-mail: RhodinCRF@aol.com.

Our desire is to share with our readers the beauty and wonder of turtles as expressed through the art of the poem or song. In the sense that the relationship between man and turtles is multifaceted, so too is turtle poetry. The poems we publish here will reflect that complexity, from poems of pure admiration for the creatures themselves to others reflecting the utilization of turtles and their products. Some poems will reflect man's use of the turtle for sustenance, others will stress man's need to preserve and protect turtles. Some will deal with our emotional interactions with turtles, others will treat turtles light-heartedly or with seeming disrespect, but all will hopefully help us to better understand both the human and the chelonian condition, and remind us that the turtle holds a sacred place in all our hearts.

La Tortuga1

Pablo Neruda

La tortuga que

anduvo

tanto tiempo

y tanto vio

con

sus

antiguos

ojos,

la tortuga

que comió

aceitunas

del más profundo

mar,

la tortuga que nadó

siete siglos

y conoció

siete

mil

primaveras,

la tortuga

blindada

contra

el calor

y el frío,

contra

los rayos y las olas,

la tortuga

amarilla

y plateada,

con severos

lunares

ambarinos

y pies de rapiña,

la tortuga

se quedó

aquí

durmiendo,

y no lo sabe.

De tan vieja

se fue

poniendo dura,

dejó de amar las olas

y fue rígida

como una plancha de planchar.

Cerró

los ojos que

tanto

mar, cielo, tiempo y tierra

desafiaron,

y se durmió

entre las otras

piedras.

The Turtle2 Pablo Neruda (Translated by Jodey Bateman)

The turtle who

walked

so long

and saw so much

with

his

ancient

eyes,

the turtle

who ate

olives

from the deepest

sea,

the turtle who swam

for seven centuries

and knew

seven

thousand

springtimes,

the turtle

hooded

against

the heat

and cold,

against

sunrays and waves,

the yellow

turtle

plated,

with severe

amber

scales

and feet for catching prey,

the turtle

stopped

here

to sleep,

and didn't know it.

So old

that he kept

getting harder,

he quit loving the waves

and became rigid

like a clothing iron.

He closed

the eyes which

had defied

so much

sea, sky, time and earth,

and went to sleep

among the other

stones.

Editorial Comment

Pablo Neruda [1904–1973] was a celebrated poet from Chile who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. His birth name was Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, but he was known by his pen name and, later, legal name of Pablo Neruda. He was also a diplomat and politician and was closely involved in high-level Chilean politics. Neruda first became known as a poet when he was only 13 years old, and wrote in a variety of styles, including surrealist poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and passionate explicit love poems such as the ones in his collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924). Many of his poems also dealt with nature, animals, and wilderness, such as this one about an ancient sea turtle. Neruda was one of the world's most gifted and celebrated poets and we are pleased to reprint his wonderful turtle poem here. May it serve to help inspire some other budding turtle poets out there.

Submitted by Thomas E.J. Leuteritz.

1

First published 1961 in Las Piedras de Chile [The Stones of Chile], by Pablo Neruda. Publisher: Losada, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2

Translation by Jodey Bateman posted online at https://motherbird.com/the_turtle.html and at https://spanishpoems.blogspot.com/2005/05/pablo-neruda-turtle.html.Submitted by Thomas E.J. Leuteritz.