Loggerhead Turtle

Loggerhead of imposing spirit

Silhouette outlined in the moonlit night,

I watched a miracle of your endeavor.

A pit dug deep by flipper’s strength

In unaware trance of your audience.

Respectful of the sacred scene,

I quietly observe this clutch you’re leaving.

From your reverie you finally rouse

Oh, mother, still more toil ahead,

Slowly with each flip you fill

The sandy cavity’s excavation.

Nesting fulfilled, you turn to go

Beginning return to your ocean home.

Witnessing your grace and quiet might

I reach out my hand and touch your back.

I’ve had the good fortune to witness these beautiful marine reptiles several times on Florida’s beaches.   Each time has been at night when nesting females have come to lay their eggs.  During nesting season, it is common to see protected, cordoned off areas designating these as Loggerhead nests with warnings not to disturb them–it is unlawful to do so.  They are an endangered species.   Their eggs are about the same size and shape as a ping-pong ball.  I’ve yet to witness the eggs hatching–I hope to one day.   Adults average between 200 and 300 pounds.

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  1. Gayle

    I’ve seen these trutles laying eggs and the little hatchlings racing to the water. My friend lives on the beach and a turtle decided to nest at her home. There are BIG restrictions when the turtles are nesting. Your rear lights must be off as the turtles tend to go to the light which is in the opposite direction of the ocean. Interesting ….!!!!!

    This poem is a wonderful description of this beautiful turtle’s nesting pattern. Mother Nature is so magical.



    • Witnessing these amazing animals never gets old for me, Izzy. You are so right about those restrictions too–I’m quite aware of those regulations. Really, I must confess, you’re not supposed to touch them either–I couldn’t resist that one time.

      Mother Nature is awesome!



  2. jgavinallan

     /  July 1, 2011

    This is so interesting. You poem is beautiful, but I am so excited…you touched them and watched them. That must have been so wonderful..to be there.


    • I’ve seen them several times during walks on the beaches at night. I wish everyone could experience it at least once. They are just amazing–and so big! It’s such an effort for them to be out of the water.



  3. This is, to me, so awe-inspiring. I remember these from a visit to FL when I was a teen. This winter in the desert we had a similar experience with a desert tortoise. Nature is such a blessing. Thanks for sharing this sacred moment, Gayle.


    • I would be equally in awe of a desert tortoise. I’m just so fascinated and feel so blessed to have been able to see these wonderful animals. Thanks for coming by, Victoria.


  4. I watched a documaentary about these turtles and was so amazed by their lives and their travels. Beautiful poem!


    • Thank you, Leslie. The sea is filled with so many fascinating creatures. We’ve learned so much through wonderful documentaries–I love those shows too.


  5. giving birth, being a mother is really a tough job- human or others.


  6. Yes, there seems to be a lot of hardship that goes with that job. 🙂


  7. Lovely poem, photographs, and narrative. Thanks for sharing an experience with us that we can’t all have.

    Puts me in mind today of the turtles that brought JFK to a stop, making all the air traffic stop until they crossed the landstrip to get to the other side where they lay their eggs.



    • Thank you, Jamie. I hadn’t heard that story before but when you have an endangered species, you can’t bug them!

      I’ve stopped my car more than once for turtles crossing the road–sometimes even getting out and helping them across.



  8. What an awesome write, Gayle! 🙂 I wish I could witness the babies hatching in person. I know that so many of them don’t make it. 😦 I know the birds hafta eat, too, but if I were there, I would make sure more of the babies made it safely to water (even though I know people aren’t supposed to interfere).

    I love turtles and have helped them across the road a time or two, myself! When I went to Hawaii for a couple of weeks, I was actually lucky enough to snorkel with some Green turtles – I didn’t get to touch them, but they were within a few feet of me and it was an incredible experience!


    • I just love all types of nature and this was just so wonderful to have witnessed sea turtle nestings. I agree with you–if I was present during their hatching, I probably would help them too. I would have a hard time standing by and doing nothing.

      How cool to have been able to swim so close to Green turtles–and in Hawaii too!

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with me, Corina.


  9. I’ve never seen loggerheads in action. This piece wonderfully suffices for the time. Thank you.


  10. A beautiful tale of one of natures miracles, one that should teach us perserverance and trust.

    Poetically, you have the beginning of a really good poem here. You have, in my opinion, an outline to build on. If you infuse some poetic devices as well as pare it down, this poem will be a knock-out inspiration.

    I will do some paring to show what I mean. Please remember that this is only my opinion. Keep it or toss, your choice.

    Loggerhead turtle–of imposing spirit
    moonlit silhouette
    respectful spectator, sacred scene
    flipper gouged pit
    clutch nested

    Oh, mother, toil
    flip, fill
    sandy cavity’s excavation
    nesting fulfilled

    return to ocean home
    graceful journey
    quiet might

    [I reach out my hand and touch your back] remove
    Although this last line gives an aww… factor, it doesn’t enhance the poem. The poem is very reverant in regards to the turtle. Injecting the human touch doesn’t fit the core of the write.

    Absolutely lovely and a pleasure to give input on. Thank you for linking to dVerse tonight.



    • I appreciate your comments and guidance here, Beth. I’m getting a very clear impression of the need for editing, editing and more editing!

      Thank you for your time and effort.



  11. Indeed this a lovely share…and I like those pictures.

    Beth gave great comments, which I appreciate. Thanks for sharing this ~


    • Thank you, Heaven. I agree, Beth gave me some solid advice on the advantage of fearless editing!

      I appreciate your visit.



  12. great subject…love the turtles…and to touch one…wow…nice close…a bit of crit…there are some tense issues here…past and present…i say go present tense…puts the reader more into the action…


    • I’m beginning to take note of that issue myself–the past and present tenses. Thank you, Brian–I sure appreciate your help.


  13. Tom Eliot

     /  August 5, 2011

    Oh wow – im late popping in the bar to look around today – and i see you have some great feedback.

    How amazing and inspiring it must be to live where you live and do what you do – thanks for sharing.

    Your country – for me – is a holyland. beyond reality. An incredible movie zone.
    but you have made it real with this write which only increases my desire to embark on my pilgrimage ha ha ha.


    • Yes, no time was apparently wasted in getting to work by our crits! I imagine it can be quite time consuming.

      I live in a part of the U.S. which is a huge vacation destination spot because of the natural beauty here and then of course there’s Disney World, Universal Studios, Epcot and on and on. I’ll take the natural attractions over the others any day!

      Come on over! 🙂


  14. I’ve seen this before, haven’t I? And love it still. Beth made some excellent suggestions. A very impressive poem, Gayle…whatever you choose to do with it.


    • Yes, you’ve seen this one before, Victoria. With everyone’s helpful suggestions, I’m beginning to look at things differently.

      Thank you again…


  15. A wonderful subject.

    I am torn between agreeing with Beth about the paring down and liking the dignity of the rhythm you’ve used. However that rhythm does get a little boring as you go on; I would like to see some variation, or perhaps verse breaks.

    I think you could lose ‘miracle’. We don’t need to be told it’s a miracle; we can see that from everything else you say.

    With respect, I disagree wholeheartedly with Beth about the ending. Your presence as witness, watching and observing, draws me into the poem even more than if you had focused solely on the turtle. That touch at the end, to me encapsulates the poem and at the same time opens it up to resonate beyond its end.

    My favourite moment in the poem is ‘Oh, mother, still more toil ahead’. It’s wonderful in itself and also a pivot point in the action. And it is a line which brings you (observer) and turtle together as one, as you feel so intensely her physical experience.


    • I see what you’re saying about the verse breaks–and how those can move a story along differently. Thank you for pointing that out.

      You know, I tend to agree with you about the ending too. Because to me, as a witness to this amazing experience, that just topped it all off for me when I was actually able to reach out and touch her. A true spiritual experience for me. Maybe not to someone else… I did not really add it for the “aww” factor.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you thought and how I might make it better. You also helped affirm to me that my feelings behind this were felt by you too.

      Thanks so much, Rosemary.



  16. A very interesting and sad story linked here about a loggerhead saved from a spear through the head.

    Thank you, CyberWhaleWarrior, for linking my poem to your article.


  1. Reward offered in case of Keys loggerhead turtle shot by spear gun « CyberWhaleWarrior.com

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