Thursday, February 4, 2021

Team Walrus

O Oysters, come and walk with us!
The Walrus did beseech.
'A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach
~Lewis Carroll

I appreciate a poem that is wildly original, and we have just such a poem today with Matthew Olzmann's Commencement Speech, Delivered to a Herd of Walrus Calves.

by Matthew Olzmann

Young walruses, we all must adapt! For example,
some of your ancestors gouged the world
with four tusks, but you can grow only two.
It’s hard to say what evolution plans for your kind,
but if given a choice,
you should put in a request for thumbs.
Anyway, congratulations! You’re entering
a world that’s increasingly hostile and cruel
and full of people who’ll never take you seriously
though that will be a mistake on their end.
You are more tenacious than they know.
You’ll be a fierce and loyal defender
of those you love. You will fight polar bears
when they attack your friends and sometimes you’ll win.
Of course, odds always favor the polar bear,
but that’s not the point. The point is courage.

read the rest here

This seems like a great mentor poem. I'd like to write a valentine for viscachas or a toast for a horde of gerbils. (I guess rodents are where my head is at today.)

Jone Rush MacCulloch has the Poetry Friday round-up. Tapadh leat, Jone!


Bridget Magee said...

Yes, you must write a toast for a horde of gerbils! I'd love to read that, Tabatha! Thank you for the introduction to Olzmann's poem. I especially like the lines: "but if given a choice,
you should put in a request for thumbs". Unfortunately, there are many 'thumbed' among us who will never know 'the point', courage or otherwise. Fun and enlightening post as usual. :)

April Halprin Wayland said...

I just read the whole thing. Incredible! Oh my God I think this was my meditation for this morning! Thank you for starting my day with such a strange, brilliant, hilarious poem!

Kay said...

I love this! There is nothing better than the slightly bizarre, random connections that somehow come together to make perfect sense.

Ruth said...

Life is kind of bleak for the walruses. I like your prompt ideas. How about the lemmings?

Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, wow. What a great poem. So many fantastical and real details. So many hopeful and dreadful thoughts leading to that final difficult line. I'm impressed. What a great mentor poem. I don't know if I could tackle it. I look forward to what you come up with.

jan godown annino said...

Giggle-creator, YOU, dear Tabatha!
How do you know to seek & find the right new-to-me poem-maker at the right time.
Yes it's a mentor work this commencement poem.
I especially grok the M. Olzmann line: "One cannot be for both Team Walrus and Team Polar Bear."

Brings to my mind current USA polix.
Appreciations for this wonderfulness.

Linda B said...

And why not write to the walrus? Every time a poem is written, it brings new ideas & thank goodness! A speech to walruses can always overcome those stories of lasers & fires, at least I hope so. I loved the extremes of his yearning to fight for the walrus, possibly frightening them into changing, like in the line "then the tears of your loved ones."

Janice Scully said...

Yes, a toast to a hoard of gerbils! Great Idea. This Olzmann's poem is very funny seeing the world from the poor walrus' POV. Thanks for sharing that.

Jone said...

Wow, I love the Title and the poem is hilarious. Thank you for the smiles as I read it.

Karen Edmisten said...

I love this and really loved the ending. Such a funny idea and yet such a touching poem in metaphorical ways. And yes, please write a valentine for viscachas AND a toast for a horde of gerbils! :)

Heidi Mordhorst said...

And in the end, are you Team Walrus or Team Polar Bear? Wildly original indeed, and very suggestive of many applications. Thanks, Tabatha!