Monday, 11 June 2007

Turtle Turtle

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me, how many eggs you lay
You won’t believe the truth if I say

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me, how many legs you walk on
Double the legs of yours, Come on!

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me, how far in a day’s time you go
Miles and miles, if you care to know

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me, can you climb up a tree
Just watch me on them, fallen free

Turtle, Turtle
How soft and how hard is your shell
Better you keep off the thing, I tell

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me how good you, to a lake or pond
Cleaning all of them, thus I respond

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me when would you stick your neck out
To tell the truth when you leave me- fear, without

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me man’s crimes, you-so nice and neat
They catch and trap and kill me for my meat

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me, what’s the best of God’s grace?
Simple-“Slow but steady win the race”

Turtle, Turtle
Tell me your life’s agenda on hand
Enjoying the sun and basking on sand

Being in the field of wildlife conservation, I know turtles. They are wonderful creatures and scavengers of our lakes and ponds. They cleanse them all-as I said in the poem.
They are facing threats of extinctions because of heavy poaching for their meat, which is a delicacy in many parts of the country, and there is a huge market abroad. Then, our wetlands are fast disappearing which are their home.

The idea of writing this nursery rhyme came sometimes back during a conference on turtles when some one presented me a book, sort of compilation of myths and mythologies, folk tales, sayings, heresies, stories, fables etc prevalent about turtles in different parts of the world.

For example in Malaysia there is a saying that a turtle would lay thousand eggs and no one would know but a hen would lay a single eggs and the whole world knows it. Very interesting, isn’t?

Turtles as such don’t climb the trees but you can see them pretty sitting on the branches of fallen trees or logs on a riverbed.

Lastly, sometimes children are the worst tormentors of turtles, pestering them in all possible ways and deriving their quota of fun and pleasure- in fact we all did this in our times- this rhyme has been written for children to give them pleasure without teasing the turtles.

The rhyme also, in a subtle way explains the biology of the turtles, as well the threats to them. This is an educational work

By Mohammad Ahsan (Rzyer at Caferatti)

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