Treasure Island

Percy Dovetonsils

(12 Aug,1948 / Tokyo, Japan)

Ah Martha


Nice thing about the dinos:
their extinction
not my fault.
A meteor did that.
With polar bears
on the other hand
I'm doing my bit
to melt their ice caps,
and them,
every time I turn on a light.
Woolly mammoths?
Kind of a toss up.
Might've been my species
that zapped 'em,
might've been climate change,
might've been both.
Steller's sea cow?
Definitely my species'
fault. But lots of the murderers
were Russians, and I'm not
Russian. So why do I
still feel guilty?
The great Irish stag?
Definitely my species
to blame,
we were one and the same,
maybe even my ancestors,
aided, no doubt, by
Irish wolfhounds
moonlighting as elkhounds.
And believe me
I feel rotten
it's still not around.
The dodo? My fault, of course,
because I'm human,
though I'm not a sailor,
and I wasn't around that year,
1681? 1674? 1693?
so I've got an out
if my conscience
won't let me be.
And if that doesn't work
there's always Ambien.
Passenger pigeons?
Now we're getting
way too close to home.
The Cincinnati Zoo,1914,
as a matter of fact.
Not that it's the ZOO's fault.
They were trying to keep
the last one alive,
for crissakes.
I wonder:
did they give it a name?
Ah Martha, we
hardly knew ye.
And then there's Ishi,
'the last wild Indian'
in North America.
Of course, he wasn't
the last of his species.
Merely the last
of his tribe,
the last of the Ishis,
merely the last
of his 10,000 year old
culture,
merely the last
of millions.
And HE died
soon enough
of a White Man's Disease.
I miss him,
and I didn't even know him.
I miss Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, too.
Hell, I can't even begin to count
all the things I miss
I never
knew:
60 million buffalo, oceans of whales,
endless, towering, ancient, forests,
abalones that so carpetted
the California coast
that folks
caught 'em by the truckload
and used 'em
for animal feed.
I miss dire wolves, sabretooths,
and short nosed cave bears.
I miss the time
when man
lost more battles with 'em,
than he won.
Easy for me
to say, of course,
evolutionary dead end
and failed genetic experiment
that I am,
looking backwards
from a safe place
as I drown myself
in sweet, false, nostalgia.

Submitted: Friday, May 15, 2009

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Comments about this poem (Ah Martha by Percy Dovetonsils )

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  • Martin O'Neill (2/17/2012 2:38:00 PM)

    I heard that Tony
    Our last Prime Pillock-sorry-Minister
    Apologised for the fact that
    A long time ago
    A bunch of people unrelated to me
    But who originated from the same geography
    Made other people slaves.
    I didn't but
    I am now expected to pay
    Compensation to people who
    Weren't
    Enslaved.
    For some reason I cannot fathom.
    I voted him out and told the black descendants
    Of the slaves to
    Get a life of
    Their own. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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