The Hawksbill is a spongivore
Swimming in coral and hunting for
Porifera with which to make a meal.
This diet is helpful to the reef
(Lavish sponges form coral grief
Ruling the sea with invertebrate zeal).
Reward for this diet and grace
Is beauty ‘pon the carapace.
Attracting eyes to make the scutes genteel.
To remove a fine turtle shell
Needs post-turtles then expelled
It is not something from which one can heal.
There is no value to the meat.
Rendered as poison by the fleet
Of sponges rendered incorporeal.
Avoid the Hawksbill if you can
(Both meat and shell, more in demand).
In the ocean, alive, it has most appeal.
The Hawksbill Turtle is found around tropical coral reefs. It’s level of ninjitsu is debatable, but it does excel at eating certain varieties of sea sponges. The only spongivoric reptile currently known, the curved bill is exceptional at eating these invertebrates. There is a balance on the reef which is in danger as sponges and algae take over the coral – a balance this sea turtle helps protect.
Some of its diet helps produce bioluminescence in it’s shell – which would make for good poetry, if one were so inclined!
As with the rhino, this turtle is hunted for it’s keratin rich pieces. Instead of health, beauty is the target – tortoiseshell accouterments have been popular for centuries. Despite currently being illegal, it is still used for combs and glasses.
I don’t usually comment on matters poetic, but I made a choice with the scansion here I’m entirely sold on, but throughout the month I want to stretch myself in this way as well.