I was really inspired by the appearance of the Hawksbill Turtle on World Turtle Day. It was quite a nice coincidence and quite a wholesome wildlife story for once, which had me thinking about what it would be like from the turtle’s point of view.
Since I was quite free at that point in time I decided on writing a poem about it, and sharing it with some of my friends! Here it is:
Spending my days out at sea,
the place where I’d most like to be.
There’s plenty of sea weeds and jellies
To keep us feeling good in our bellies 🙂
But now it’s back to where I came,
After all these years, is it still the same?
It was dark and quiet unlike when I left
Back then I was small, and not so deft.
I was surrounded, I think I remember
By many of a kind of two-legged creature.
It was loud, and very bright.
It really did give me a fright.
They had some light, it was like a star. But they hurt my eyes, for they weren’t very far.
Luckily it seems much quieter tonight.
I’m hoping hard it stays just right.
As I started to dig and build my first nest,
I was faced with my very first test.
I heard some voices, and soon enough,
It was clear that things were about to get tough.
Just like before, surrounded by dozens of toes, it seems I’ve met plenty of new foes.
Once again their stars shone bright
And more of them started to come out into the light.
Should I leave? Is this place safe?
Or should I return, back to the waves?
It’s been a long night though, and I’ve come so far.
Already dug my nest deep in this sandbar.
But what if they eat me, or worse, they wait, for when I leave, so they can steal my eggs!
Just then, one of the creatures stepped forth. It spoke to the rest, and seemed to be begging of some sort.
One by one the blinding lights disappeared. And the large crowd thar had formed soon begun to clear.
Was this luck, or was it a trap?
Will they still eat me or wear me like a cap?
No wait, it doesn’t seem that way. These ones seem nicer, I feel safer today.
Besides, if they wanted to they would’ve taken me by now, so I shall take this chance and finish up somehow.
As I started to leave and return to the sea, the place I’d most like to be.
I took another look at the nest I had built,
And I had a really strange feeling of guilt.
I wish I hadn’t left my eggs in those sands. I can only hope those creatures were friends.
They don’t seem as bad as they used to be. Let’s hope my babies make it back to sea.
I shared my poem with my friend Wee Leong over a Zoom call, who thought it was really nice! He said he had no idea that sea turtles actually came to Singapore, and if he actually did see one in the wild, he’d probably have gone up close to take a bunch of pictures without thinking twice because, well, it’s a sea turtle! Could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which I agreed with him.
The poem helped to bolster a conversation, where I then shared about what should and shouldn’t be done if we are ever fortunate enough to encounter a sea turtle. Like the poem says, curious, excited people can often end up stressing out the turtle and making it difficult for them to lay eggs, which is a problem especially with a Critically Endangered species like the Hawksbill Turtle.
I didn’t really write this with any particular audience in mind, though in hindsight the rhymes may be engaging and interesting to some younger audiences. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of decision to write a poem after reading the articles about the Hawksbill Turtle sighting, and I have to say I’m glad I followed through on it.
It was quite interesting having to think of words that rhymed (or at least, sort of rhymed) to keep the format consistent, while at the same time trying to make the narratives and the facts accurate. In the past I liked to stick to photos I’ve taken accompanied by facts (like on my Instagram) but I guess it’s kinda nice to step out of my comfort zone for once to try a completely new medium for engagement. 😊😊😊