Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lonesome George

On reading this poem by X.J. Kennedy in the June issue of The Atlantic I was reminded that I had seen  George in May of 2008 at the Darwin Research center in the Galapagos Islands. 

The last of his line, he was unsuccessful in breeding after being rescued from one of the other islands, Pinta,  in 1971
George is said to be 100 years old.

No mate for him exists.
Last one of his subspecies,
he solemnly persists
in turning into feces 
eeelgrass brown and dry,
spine sprinkled cactus leaves.
Straining to gulp a fly,
he hastily retrieves
blunt head. Dead-ending male,
lone emblem of despair,
he slumps on his knees, his tail
antennaing the air.
For a long moment we bind
sympathetic looks,
we holdout of our kind,
like rhymed line, printed books.

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