Photo of the Day Poems – The #Hart and the #Tortoise

Returning to The Guardian photo of the day poems I penned three years ago, I found the play on Aesop’s “The Hare and the Tortoise” a fitting theme for tonight’s post. Like the classic fable, there is a moral to be found in each poem. Yet unlike that beloved tale, the hart (or deer) and the tortoise are not in any sort of competition. Nothing is being said about perseverance or ingenuity. Rather, the first poem, inspired by the deer, speaks of early morning wonder, and the second, inspired by the tortoise, laments what has been lost. In order to best enjoy the images, follow the links back to The Guardian’s website. (All poems by Vincent H. Anastasi – 2019)

(Image 1) Morning Hart - Vincent H. Anastasi

Before I cast off
the deer-patterned flannel sheets -
            sleep’s warm sanctuary
            of a gray February morning -
to silence the unnatural summons,
sun caught the hart,
            if only for a moment,
in its golden dawn-beams,
leaf-filtered glow
in Richmond Park.

O! majestic crown
branching out, bone-forked lightning,
reaching up in perpetual praise
to Him who
            set the sun to rule by day
            and makes my feet like hind’s feet
            on high places,
I stumble this morning
down the stairs
in the muted-dawn slumber-fog
of an early morning in Western PA.

(Image 2) Lost and Found - Vincent H. Anastasi

For a century we feared
the extinction
of the Fernandina Great Tortoise
despite the occasional
scat and bite marks on cacti.
Surely they dissolved
in the frequent lava flows
that easily outpace a tortoise.

Somehow the centenarian
evaded everyone,
that crawling boulder,
in a game of hide-and-seek
that ended on Sunday:
the momentous carapace
and sage face
that saw the light of Armistice Day
now safely preserved
in a specially designed pen
on Santa Cruz Island.

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