An animal of minimal means,
He owes no frog,
He holds no debt.
For travel, he’s a mobile home.
For music, he’s a metronome.
He’s blissful in a bog
Counting time in a snarl of greens,
In summer, he’s too somber to snap.
In winter, sleeps in a muddy gap.
His blood thinks,
His dream says,
© 2013 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved
A note of scientific interest: My daughter and I recently spent time with a biologist from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and learned a good deal about our local snapping turtles. While snappers live about 50 years at the extreme—nowhere near as long as the Galápagos tortoise—they hibernate by burying themselves in mud and leaves and by slowing their bodies so that their hearts beat once every few minutes. They don't need much oxygen in this state, absorbing it from pond water through specialized skin cells just inside the tail opening. In essence, they "breathe" through their tails. Freshwater turtles can stay like this for two or three months! The more details like this I learn about a subject, the more I want to include in a poem. My ear is the judge, as I always strive toward musicality. If a word doesn't sound right to me, if it doesn't harmonize with (or counterpoint) every other word, then it's best left out, or kept in prose.