Tag Archives: National Poetry Month

Kakapo

A bird so heavy it stays on the ground
Nudging the brush for any nuts around.
It isn’t too heavy – it still can climb trees,
But you’ll never see on in the sky free.

It’s favorite food is the rimu nut
Which gives it energy to breed, but
The tree only offers this every four years.
The bird is far older than it appears.

A kakapo can live to be ninety-five
Longer than some of us have been alive.
It’s a nocturnal avian with whiskers to find
It’s way through the forest in the dark and blind.

In New Zealand fair it makes its home
Upon the forest floor it walks and roams.
A bird so heavy it stays on the ground
Weighing, as a parrot, to almost nine pounds.

The Kakapo is a fat parrot that can’t fly, which is very interesting. It is also called the “owl parrot” by people smarter than me. This bird is heavy, it climbs trees, it has sensory whiskers on its face. During the great harvest of the rimu tree it gains the energy to mate, in which courts and battles take place.

It is an absolutely fascinating bird! Also, there is a BBC documentary with a segment about it featuring Benedict Cumberbatch narrating, so that’s pretty cool.

Panther

They stalk quietly, not to avenge
Though, to some humanity, they could justify revenge.
Their interest, instead, lay toward their prey –
A hare, dear, stork – a little mouse grey.
It may stumble upon a reptilian battle
An alligator find could be its death rattle.
But, if removed from a space where it swims,
The panther, instead, will be one who wins.
The rate of dismissal now thankfully slowed
Though many undone by the busiest roads.
A life in Florida can be terrible harsh
When daring to exit the motherland marsh.
As others, their existence carries a sad metric
They lack past generations diverse genetics.

The Florida Panther is a subspecies of puma, cougar, mountain lion – the large cat that haunts the Ozarks and fur trapping young men. Endemic, naturally, to Florida. It’s population has seen a slight rebound from the teen-twenties to the low hundreds. As in, 120 in the wild. It suffers from hunting, habitat loss, and environmental poisonings. Also feline leukemia. And roads. It gets struck quite a bit crossing the road.

It is the only mountain lion in the Eastern United States, though sightings come out every so often in northern states. I had a college friend who swears he saw one crossing the road.

If you find a cougar in the wild, you are supposed to use your coat to look larger than normal to scare it away. Take your chances.

Brazilian GuitarFish

Out to fish
Many fish
Overfish
Guitar Fish

You cannot play it.
But what fun to say it.
It looks like a skate.
Also similar in weight.

Say! This fish is not doing so great!

The females get catched
Before eggs lay or hatch.
None are sad
And none are glad
But all are doing bad.

If your health and wealth
Bring you to the continental shelf
See the surf swish and make a wish
For the Brazilian Guitar Fish.

 

Easter Sunday

Easter Eggs

If you travel Fringed Hill in New Zealand fair
Take care for fragile eggs grow there.
They are not laid, or set or placed.
They grew from mycological lace.
It runs ‘neath the ground, in threads microscopic
Until its fruiting body becomes periscopic
Popping out of the ground brown and round till it shows
A pale white center near the base of your toes.
This fungus amongus is considerably rare,
Found only on Fringed Hill in New Zealand fair.

Volcano Rabbit

On the high slopes of four Volcanoes
In the mountainous mountains of Mexico
A rabbit, almost the smallest of all,
Hides in the forest to grow.

Like most lagomorphs, it is eats mostly plants
But may gain some protein from a snack of small ants.
As it dines and drinks during the twilight
Heading to bed before it’s darkest night.

These diminutive bunnies hide in the Zacaton
Away from the predators seeking to snack on
The Volcano Rabbit. And of course there is man
Who used to make farmland as fast as it can.

But, despite a habitat split into fractions,
There have been good people taking good actions
To preserve this example of genetic diversity
And to help it overcome it’s eco-adversity.

Eggs and Rabbits are inexplicably linked with the Easter Holiday – an example that synergy and branding are very old concepts indeed. Fischer’s Eggs are egg-like fungus growing in New Zealand. It is a surprise to many that, yes, even mushrooms can be endangered. Though, fungus and bacteria possess incredible genetic diversity with new species discovered in differing teaspoons of forest soil!

The Volcano Rabbit has a heavy metal name, but would likely die if placed in a mosh pit. It is larger than only the pygmy rabbit in the world of rabbits, closely resembling a pika. Which is an animal that looks a lot like a rabbit, but isn’t one. It lives in Mexico on Four Volcanoes. Most of its troubles are a loss of habitat due to humanity. So, you know, humans are the worst.

Happy Easter! Otherwise, Happy Sunday!

Bacter-Bactri-Bactra-Two-Humped Camel

If you ever see a silhouette on the Gobi vista,
It may be the envy of every fashionista –
With eyelash thick and lush with nary a mascara,
To keep the sun and sand away from its sclera.

The Bactrian is a champion of mammalian survival,
In the rocky desert, defeating every trial.
A needle, a prickle, an edible rock?
It eats it, it chews it, without sense of shock.

It’s soles are as leather, thick, wide, and sturdy.
Fur, warm as heather, red, thick, and curly.
Two humps rise up on the ridge of the spine,
Droopy if unhealthy, plump and high if its fine.

Related, it’s true, to those domesticated,
But can drink seawater until it’s thirst is sated.
Wild populations were found to be best
In an area victim to Nuclear tests!

They aren’t mean, but aren’t nice, so keep yourself wary –
This Bactrian’s meaner than your own dromedary.
Traders know the value with a saying that’s common –
Translated it means “Mo’ humps, mo’ problems.”

The Wild Bactrian Camel used to be thought a feral version of its domesticated cousin. However, as happens, DNA testing shows this is not the case! They are distant relatives, but very similar. Camels themselves are thought to have originated in North America and crossed to Asia on a land bridge.

Due to the harsh conditions of the Gobi, these camels are tough. They can eat any vegetation, drink any clean water (salt or fresh or frozen) available, and even smoke cigarettes. They are a sturdy, incredible ungulate.

Bumblebee Bat

When you’re the world’s smallest mammal
It’s tough to be brave
So inside the forest you find
Limestone Caves.
Hang upside down for most of the Day
At sunset, wake up and head on your way.
But not for too long – only time to devour
As many insects as possible in a half hour.
Then back to the cave until a quarter to dawn
To eat a bit more before nature’s lights come on.

Corals

(To the tune of Lorde’s Royals – I might do a video as it’s hard to read it)

A Cnidarian colonial
Existing with motility sessile
The reef is quite baronial
For all the creatures in which to nestle

Such as the sponges, clownfish, purple nudibranches –
Turtles, urchins, zooxanthelae patches.
They don’t care – it’s the habitat of their dreams.
And so there’s mollusks, sea stars, lots of phytoplankton –
Morays, lobsters, an invertabraic sanctum –
All they need is an ocean in which feed.

But we’re losing our coral (coral)
Wrap your arm in a black band
As reefs slowly fill with sand
Oh its end is close at hand.
Growing ever smaller (smaller)
Turning to a bone white reef.
And baby soon, oh soon, oh soon, oh soon –
They might be a fantasy.

Scientists have cracked the code.
They’ve figured out the ocean acidification –
Can cause polyps to grow and glow brighter in color
A sign of their stagnation.

The warmer water causes lower reef health –
Symbiotic algae finding itself expelled
Leaving it – susceptible to disease.
Leaving this diverse and vibrant sea life ecosystem
To slowly wither as in a food web cataclysm –
Why do we care? Our marine life is under there.

But we do need coral (Coral)
It fixes nitrogen and carbon
At levels seen as a bargain
Compared to land plants’ own burden –
They stop big waves sooner (sooner)
Preventing bad erosion.
They kickstart life, start life, start life, start life
In the seabed of the ocean.

Coral Reefs are amazing habitats of biodiversity. They protect shorelines, help provide data for climate scientists, and are dying. Along with ocean warming due to climate change, acidification as carbon is absorbed isn’t helping.

This whole series of poems is preachy; this one is a bit more so, I guess. Jumping back from sandwiches and vaccines to a pretty serious problem. We can survive without pangolins, but we need coral reefs. We really do – they kickstart food chains we are part of, marine speaking.

Edit: Video of the performance. Scansion’s off, but okay Find it here.