Jeff Worley: “On Finding a Turtle Shell in Daniel Boone National Forest”

The column below is reprinted by permission from American Life in Poetry, a project of the Poetry Foundation. You can register on their website to receive these columns by email every week.


American Life in Poetry: Column 256


A poem is an experience like any other, and we can learn as much or more about, say, an apple from a poem about an apple as from the apple itself. Since I was a boy, I’ve been picking up things, but I’ve never found a turtle shell until I found one in this poem by Jeff Worley, who lives in Kentucky.

On Finding a Turtle Shell in Daniel Boone National Forest

This one got tired
of lugging his fortress
wherever he went,
was done with duck and cover
at every explosion
through rustling leaves
of fox and dog and skunk.
Said au revoir to the ritual
of pulling himself together…

I imagine him waiting
for the cover of darkness
to let down his hinged drawbridge.
He wanted, after so many
protracted years of caution,
to dance naked and nimble
as a flame under the moon—
even if dancing just once
was all that the teeth
of the forest would allow.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2008 by Jeff Worley, whose most recent book of poems is Best to Keep Moving, Larkspur Press, 2009, which includes this poem. Reprinted from Poetry East, Nos. 62 & 63, Fall, 2008, by permission of Jeff Worley and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

13 comments on “Jeff Worley: “On Finding a Turtle Shell in Daniel Boone National Forest”

  1. JV32Ellen says:

    In my opinion, custom writing services do the perfect note or length of dissertation connecting with this topic, thence, students should get dissertation writing and, maybe, it is doable to receive the on-line thesis or custom written essay.

  2. Proodydek says:

    [url=]buy viagra online[/url] Medicate euphemistic pre-owned to over and above sterility

  3. zhenimsja says:

    I’ve got to post something like tip on my blog and this gave me a good thought. Cheers!

  4. Good post! thank you

  5. RitEthige says:

    Вода, вода, вода автор учись писать информативно, А то много букв мало толку.

  6. E Cigarette says:

    Interesting. We are waiting for new messages on the same topic:)

  7. sigarety says:

    Iwish you never will stop and be creative – forever!

  8. Veksinjenue says:

    There are a couple of proposals for cooperation in the field of alternative energy.
    You are interested in solar panels?

  9. dnevniki says:

    Something is missing, but what I do not understand.

  10. maul says:

    I beg Sorry for my english. But he could not express his opinion. You have very interesting site.

  11. scoogninC says:

    Really nice read thanks, I have added this to my bookmarks Diary

  12. scoogninC says:

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this topic.

  13. Veksinjenue says:

    There are a few questions on your site.
    How can I contact the administration?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.