Friday, May 11, 2012

Box Turtle Poem

With short, stout and scaled legs,
you lift your domed shell.
And despite your famous boxiness,
you actually walk quite well.

When danger comes,
you do not cringe.
Just close the door,
with your handy hinge.

You eat your meals,
with your sharp, horned beak.
But if food is scarce,
you can fast for a week.

Your menu of worms, slugs and bugs,
does not sound very tasteful.
Add mushrooms, berries and fallen fruit,
you certainly are not wasteful.

You red-eyed males,
are quite impressive.
But the brown-eyed girls,
are they more expressive?

The patterns on your carapace,
resemble hieroglyphics.
A mysterious code of yellow lines,
blotches, spots and widgets.
 I count the growth rings on your square scutes,
a fairly accurate gauge.
Three times I've counted seventeen,
so that must be your age.

©  2012  Richard Havenga


This poem is meant to be read aloud to children in the style of Dr. Seuss.
Have fun with it. Share this poem with your kids' teachers.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Photo Location:  Townsend Park, (Townsend Park) Cannonsburg, (Cannonsburg) Michigan


  1. Wow! Spectacular!

  2. Thank you Ann Marie.

    I spotted another Box Turtle this morning while Birding with Mary. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera along. He had a totally different pattern on his carapace.


  3. We don't have turtles but after reading this it reminded me of when I was a child and our neighbours pet tortoise bit me!

  4. Rosie:

    Thanks for writing.

    The main reasons for the Box Turtle decline are: getting killed by vehicles, and getting picked up to become a pet, because they are easy to care for. However, it's always best to leave them in their natural habitat. After my one-minute photo shoot, on my belly, this male crawled away, on his plastron, untouched.


  5. Richard:

    You should have this poem published. Children of all ages will enjoy it.

    Retired Reading Teacher

  6. Dear Anony Mouse:

    I consider this to be published if hundreds of people, big and little, young and old, are reading and enjoying it. Some royalties would be nice, but for now, WWFN works just fine.

    I only ask you to give me credit when you pass it around. Please pass the turtles...


    "Father Nature"

    1. I honestly believe you have the talent of passed poets read from my youth and will be well remembered for generations to come. Whether prose or poetry, there is a message or emotion portrayed in everything you write that many people may miss, but will most definitely feel compelled to go back and read again and again. You possess a quality of written expertise that encapsulates the reader leaving them with a desire for more. Thank you for sharing all you do and I feel fortunate to be one of those readers awaiting your next beautiful piece of poetic art. Toni Anderson Roberts/Author


Please write a comment in the white box. I value your thoughts. I will reply to all who write.

When finished, sign your name, click down arrow, select "Name/URL", or "Anonymous", then click "Publish". Thank you.