The Lorca Variations (XXVIII)
"For Turtles"

Jerome Rothenberg

Up there—or down here
for that matter—the screams
rush around us
Ellipses dismember the tower
of Babel, crapulent city,
enraged zigzag women still sit in
with feathers, on porticos
Men with pale foreheads
shout poems from its rooftops,
crushing its grasses,
city that's buried in words,
like “cypress” & “daylight”
“up there” & “down here”
My heart is flying from me
—see it fly—
& rising in a spiral,
like a star,
a spiral rising past the Cape
like a neon heart,
celestial turtle set before the pope,
until the turtle & the star
drop back to earth,
to test the limits of a heart,
the way that hunger
tests the soul
or feet whatever life is left us
A heart, a soul, & many turtles,
where the heart transforms
the body, like some pluvial
sahara, & the turtles
blot out the horizon,
leaving turtleshells & wings behind,
unto our final rest
From The Lorca Variations. Copyright © 1993 by Jerome Rothenberg. Reprinted with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Poems by This Author

I Give Up My Identity
by Jerome Rothenberg
My name is smaller
Autobiography 1997
The First One Hundred
by Jerome Rothenberg
Archipelago of the wandering dream
Blake's Babes: A Prophecy by Jerome Rothenberg
infant encoil'd
Lorca Variation 34
A Book of Hours
by Jerome Rothenberg
The green man, more a man
That Dada Strain by Jerome Rothenberg
the zig zag mothers of the gods
The Case for Memory by Jerome Rothenberg
I was amok & fearless
The Chicago Poem by Jerome Rothenberg
the bridges of Chicago
The Lorca Variations (I)
"Lorca's Spain: A Homage"
by Jerome Rothenberg
Beginning with olive trees

Further Reading

Poems About Animals and Pets
27,000 Miles
by Albert Goldbarth
from The Kitten and Falling Leaves
by William Wordsworth
I Am! Said the Lamb [excerpt]
by Theodore Roethke
Jubilate Agno, Fragment B, [For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
by Christopher Smart
A Crocodile
by Thomas Lovell Beddoes
A List of Praises
by Anne Porter
A Noiseless Patient Spider
by Walt Whitman
Animals and Art
by Ron Padgett
At Bay
by Carl Phillips
At the Zoo
by William Makepeace Thackeray
by Paisley Rekdal
Darwin's Finches
by Deborah Digges
by Laura Elizabeth Richards
Epitaph to a Dog
by George Gordon Byron
Flamingo Dreams
by William Saphier
Freedom in Ohio
by Jennifer Chang
From the Canal
by Michael Dickman
by Rigoberto González
Goldfish Are Ordinary
by Stacie Cassarino
by Ron Padgett
by Daniel Waters
Ho Ho Ho Caribou
by Joseph Ceravolo
horse vision
by Julian T. Brolaski
How Doth the Little Busy Bee
by Isaac Watts
Journey aka OR7
by Gerard Malanga
Leda and the Swan
by W. B. Yeats
Maine Seafood Company
by Matthew Dickman
Me and the Otters
by Dorothea Lasky
by Wyatt Prunty
Nonsense Alphabet
by Edward Lear
On Viewing the Skull and Bones of a Wolf
by Alexander Posey
Orkney Interior
by Ian Hamilton Finlay
Prayer from a Mouse
by Sarah Messer
by George Oppen
Quiet the Dog, Tether the Pony
by Marilyn Chin
Skunk Hour
by Robert Lowell
Testy Pony
by Zachary Schomburg
The Armadillo
by Elizabeth Bishop
The Barnacle and the Gray Whale
by Cecilia Llompart
The Bear
by Galway Kinnell
The Caterpillar
by Robert Graves
The Crocodile
by Lewis Carroll
The Dusk of Horses
by James Dickey
The Eagle
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
The Fly
by William Blake
The Future is an Animal
by Tina Chang
The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me
by Delmore Schwartz
The Moose
by Elizabeth Bishop
The Paper Nautilus
by Marianne Moore
The Parakeets
by Alberto Blanco
The Purple Cow
by Gelett Burgess
The Return
by Frances Richey
The Snail
by William Cowper
The Tyger
by William Blake
The Windhover
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
by Rae Armantrout
To a Mouse,
by Robert Burns
by Diane Seuss
Turn of a Year
by Joan Houlihan
Wild Gratitude
by Edward Hirsch
by Carl Sandburg
by Maxine Kumin