Diane Hine

Silver Star - 4,143 Points (25 July 1956)

An Interesting Ancestry - Poem by Diane Hine

To some of us, a tortoise lives on land
while turtles only rarely leave the sea.
‘Chelonians' applies to any brand,
so here I'll use this terminology.

Land dwellers share aquatic ancestry
and most of us decided to stay put.
Chelonians agreed to disagree.
A flippered revolution was afoot.

A late Triassic turtle fossil shows
a hard-shelled belly plate and softer back,
presumably to ward off fatal blows
from deeper-dwelling predators' attack.

Did top shell metaphorically ‘dissolve'
when full-shelled forebear sought the sea's embrace?
Or did an unshelled forebear's shell evolve
in oceanic pilgrimage retrace?

Genetic sleuthing points to latter case.
The evidence suggests that once again,
the tortoise forebears left their liquid space
and plodded (swam?) to shore with sigh, 'amen'. *

From sea to shore to sea to shore once more.
You'd surely think a record lies therein.
Yet maybe making not three trips but four
is water loving cousin terrapin.

When next you gaze with love in tortoise eyes
and wonder at his mind's soliloquy,
from languid, longing looks you may surmise,
he's pondering ‘To sea or not to sea'.


Poet's Notes about The Poem

* over many generations obviously

Comments about An Interesting Ancestry by Diane Hine

  • Lyn Paul (6/5/2014 8:32:00 AM)


    Words moving towards a documentary. You always keep us thinking Diane (Report) Reply

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  • Heather Wilkins (9/1/2013 3:04:00 PM)


    very interesting a good write sets us to thinking (Report) Reply

  • (8/27/2013 7:37:00 AM)


    An interesting little tale... warm, clever and tender. God bless you! (Report) Reply

  • (1/8/2013 5:10:00 AM)


    You are very witty. I like! ! ! ! I wonder how we'll evolve? A lot of us have shells already, invisible shells, impenetrable shells. (Report) Reply

  • (12/12/2012 8:40:00 AM)


    These creatures are not exactly famous for their perambulatory speed, maybe that goes for their decision making prowess too. (Report) Reply

  • (7/19/2012 2:08:00 PM)


    Was it a race against the whale? Foot to flipper, what a tail! ! And will, too, we, return to the sea? Seems a moves afoot this time of year, to the beach since heat we cannot bear... -chuck (Report) Reply

  • Mark Dillon (7/7/2012 9:54:00 AM)


    Th shell and back, eh, , nice one. (Report) Reply

  • (7/2/2012 7:35:00 AM)


    Your writing on difficult concepts, settings, evolution and different life forms
    seems effortless when read. The work, research and thought that goes into
    your style of poetry is immense.
    (Report) Reply

  • (5/4/2012 4:05:00 PM)


    There is such thought and deepness behind your poetry that I am always amazed. (Report) Reply

  • Sharad Juneja (4/20/2012 4:36:00 AM)


    A different and unique idea.. u did all the justice..beautifully written (Report) Reply

  • (4/19/2012 11:41:00 PM)


    I did see once the nub of a feather on a turtle's flipper and now know why, perhaps their next peregrination will be to the sky.

    Fine poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • Valerie Dohren (4/18/2012 7:09:00 AM)


    Very well written - and interesting. Another good one Diane. (Report) Reply

  • (4/18/2012 2:34:00 AM)


    A struggled and changing adaptation, never belonging to anywhere forever, ever searching for anchorage....an outstanding event simply put. (Report) Reply

Read all 13 comments »




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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 18, 2012


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