Edward Tortoise was quite aware of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’;
a tale to teach the very young, though slow, a race could still be won
This fable taught through history did not explain the mystery
how, though he’d struggled and survived, this one sad tortoise felt deprived.
In youth, he’d never known the thrill of racing madly down a hill.
Though others didn’t give a toss, he felt within, a sense of loss.
Now he was nearing his retirement, speed had become a prime requirement.
He felt that he should fill this gap before he took his winter nap.
“I want a change,” he told a slug, “I’ve always been too slow.
If I could just speed up a bit; start dashing to and fro,
I think I’d feel the benefit. I’d be a better creature.”
Slug replied, “With legs like that, I don’t think speed’s a feature.”
“I’ll get a motor bike,” said Ted…a Harley-Davison.”
“You’ll never reach the handle-bars or get your helmet on.”
“I do not need a helmet, I have my carapace.
I’ll tuck my head inside,” said Ted “and whroom and roar and race.
I’ll rev up to the ninth degree and race with all my might
to try to travel faster even than the speed of light.
“I don’t know why you bother, Ted” said slug, who was intent
on eating all the brand new plants, “with life, I’m quite content.”
“Alright for you with no backbone, you’d never make an ‘Ace’
but as for me, I feel the urge to fly to outer space.”
Hell’s Angels, in a group, pulled up and Ted’s heart filled with rapture.
He thumbed a lift to Southern France to join the Marseille chapter.
They dressed him in a leather coat, festooned with jangling chains
and sat him on a petrol tank, then set off down the lanes
and when they reached the open road, they revved and picked up speed.
Our hero was ecstatic. ‘This was the life, indeed’.
He knew that they had painted a skull and cross-bones on his shell,
it made him feel quite fearless…until he felt unwell.
They whoomed and sped o’er hill and dell, the wind got underneath his shell.
The petrol fumes he didn’t like and wished he could get off this bike.
He wondered what had been the purpose of a speed obsessed old tortoise,
just because he had a mind for something he was not designed for.
Back home, at last and plodding slow, slug said, “Poor Ted, I told you so, it didn’t meet your expectation. I think it’s time for hibernation.”
© Marion Sharville