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The Turtle by William Carlos Williams


Not because of his eyes,
     the eyes of a bird,
          but because he is beaked,



birdlike, to do an injury,
     has the turtle attracted you.
          He is your only pet.


When we are together
     you talk of nothing else
          ascribing all sorts
of murderous motives
     to his least action.
          You ask me
to write a poem,
     should I have a poem to write,
          about a turtle.



The turtle lives in the mud
     but is not mud-like,
          you can tell it by his eyes
which are clear.
     When he shall escape
          his present confinement
he will stride about the world
     destroying all
          with his sharp beak.
Whatever opposes him
     in the streets of the city
          shall go down.



Cars will be overturned.
     And upon his back
          shall ride,
to his conquests,
     my Lord,



You shall be master!
     In the beginning
          there was a great tortoise
who supported the world.
     Upon him
          All ultimately
     Without him
          nothing will stand.
He is all wise
     and can outrun the hare.
          In the night
his eyes carry him
     to unknown places.
          He is your friend.

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