Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 01-14-2021, 06:57 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,852
Default Thylacinus cynocephalus

Rev. 7 (tentative, based on Cally's comments)

Tasmanian Tiger
(Thylacinus cynocephalus)

The last one died in Hobart Zoo
**during a night so raw,
he curled up tight and, shivering,
**froze from nose to paw.

Three years before, a chap appeared
**with movie-making gear.
“Benjamin” paced and yawned, then nipped
**the bloke’s placental rear.

With jaws too weak to maim a man
**his wild kin chomped on possum
and, owing to their shyness, humans
**rarely came across ’em.

Sheep vanished—from bad management—
**yet who did farmers blame?
That’s right, you guessed it! So ten-thousand
**riflemen took aim.

The chance his feral fellows prowl
**these days is less than scant.
So why then don’t we say goodby,
**you ask? We simply can’t!

Across the windswept hinterlands
**we hunt with cameras, phones,
and sometimes glimpse a ghost, a shadow,
**imagination’s bones.

Through stands of fragrant Huon Pine
**older than Canopus,
across the plains of button grass
**(the island’s magnum opus);

on cliffs that overlook the deep
**where sponges, crinoids, corals—
bright yellow, purple, cream and pink—
**live far from human quarrels;

or on the outer edge of Hobart
**(that quaint marina city
which, one day in a coming eon,
**will all be rubble—pity!);

as tawny frogmouths croon unseen,
**as bold rosellas whistle,
as pademelons romp, and roos
**leap lightly as a missile;

under a crag, above a lake,
**amid the heath and fern,
the wombat, wattlebird and devil,
**we search for him and yearn

and think how we’re the first on Earth
**that’s got a choice to make—
for we’re the killer asteroid,
**the hurricane, and quake!

He was just one more casualty
**that perished on a planet
where dwells an ape whose foremost task
**is saving her. But can it?

In petroglyphs, on postage stamps,
**badge of the cricket team,
symbol of Tasmania,
**he rouses us to dream.



S7L1: "stands" was "groves"
Lines 3-4: "across the plains of button grass / (the island’s magnum opus);"
was "across wet clumps of eucalypti / (the forest’s magnum opus);"
S9L2: "that quaint marina city" was "big and bone-dry city"
S10, Lines 3-4

as pademelons graze, and quolls
**keep hidden in the thistle


were

as pademelons romp, and roos
**leap lightly as a missile


S11L4: "we search for signs and yearn" was "we rootle about and yearn"



Revision 6

Tasmanian Tiger

(Thylacinus cynocephalus)

The last one died in Hobart Zoo
**during a night so raw,
he curled up tight and, shivering,
**froze from nose to paw.

The chance his feral fellows prowl
**these days is less than scant.
So why then don’t we say goodby,
**you ask? We simply can’t!

Across the windswept hinterlands,
**we hunt with cameras, phones,
and sometimes glimpse a ghost, a shadow,
**imagination’s bones.

Kangaroo reshaped as wolf,
**pouch-flaunting carnivore,
jazzed up with jet black stripes and jaws
**that open like a door,

in petroglyphs, on postage stamps,
**badge of the cricket team,
symbol of Tasmania,
**he rouses us to dream:

Wouldn’t it be grand to clone
**a modern specimen?
Wouldn’t it be a fine to see
**him go extinct again?



Rev. 5 (I'm unsure about the bracketed stanzas. They are possibilities.)

Tasmanian Tiger
(Thylacinus cynocephalus)

The last one died in Hobart Zoo
**during a night so raw,
he curled up tight and, shivering,
**froze from nose to paw.

[Kangaroo reshaped as wolf,
**he’d charmed us so, we ache
to spy the jet black stripes, to feel
**less sad for our mistake.]

Across the windswept hinterlands,
**we hunt with cameras, phones,
and sometimes glimpse a ghost, a shadow,
**imagination’s bones.

[In petroglyphs and postage stamps,
**badge of the cricket team,
symbol of Tasmania,
**he rouses us to dream:]

Wouldn’t it be grand to clone
**a modern specimen?
Wouldn’t it be a fine to see
**him go extinct again?


S4L1: alternative: something like this:
On postage stamps, beer bottles, buses,
or
On buses, billboards, postage stamps,

S2L2 was, temporarily "he’d cast a spell. We ache"
S2 was, temporarily
The last one died in Hobart Zoo
**during a night as cold
as the men who’d zapped his wilder cousins
**cast from the selfsame mold.


and an earlier version:

The last one died in Hobart Zoo
**during a night so bitter,
even a penguin would’ve shivered,
**or any other critter.




Revision 4

Tasmanian Tiger

(Thylacinus cynocephalus)

The last one died in ’36
**in Hobart Zoo, a night
as frosty as those men who’d plugged
**the wild ones on sight.

Now back of the beyond, we search
**with camcorders and phones,
and sometimes glimpse a ghost, a shadow,
**imagination’s bones.

Wouldn’t it be grand to clone
**a modern specimen?
Wouldn’t it be a thrill to see
**him go extinct again?



Revision 3

Tasmanian Tiger

(Thylacinus cynocephalus)

For more than eighty years, what hope
**there is he is is scant.
So why then don’t we say goodby,
**you ask? We simply can’t!

While possums fled his fangs, he couldn’t
**flee a rifle’s blast.
Rock paintings, though, ensure his doglike
**mug will last and last.

The last one died in Hobart Zoo
**during a night so bitter,
even a penguin would’ve shivered,
**or any other critter.

Now back of the beyond, we search
**with cameras and phones,
and sometimes glimpse a ghost, a shadow,
**imagination’s bones.

Symbol of Tasmania,
**badge of the cricket team,
featured on the coat of arms,
**he rouses us to dream:

Wouldn’t it be grand to clone
**a modern specimen?
Yet who, I ask, would wish to see
**him go extinct again?



Stanzas 3-4 were, for a little while:

Word’s largest carnivore with pouch,
**chic stripes, and amber hair,
the last one died in Hobart Zoo.
**Now searching everywhere

beyond the back of the beyond
**with cameras and phones,
at times we glimpse a ghost, a shadow,
**imagination’s bones.


Revision 2

Tasmanian Tiger

(Thylacinus cynocephalus)

For more than eighty years, what hope
**there is he is is scant.
So why then don’t we say goodby,
**you ask? We simply can’t!

Symbol of Tasmania,
**badge of the cricket team,
featured on the coat of arms,
**he rouses us to dream:

Wouldn’t it be grand to clone
**a modern specimen?
Yet who, I ask, would wish to see
**him go extinct again?



Revision 1

Tasmanian Tiger


For over eighty years there’s been
**no proof he is extant.
So why then don’t we say goodby
**you ask? We simply can’t!

Symbol of Tasmania,
**badge of the cricket team,
featured on the coat of arms,
**he rouses us to dream:

Wouldn’t it be fine to clone
**a museum specimen?
Wouldn’t it be a thrill to see
**him go extinct again?



Original

Tasmanian Tiger


Murder mania in Tasmania
**of thylacines was grand!
Yet now we celebrate the beast
**gone from Van Diemen’s Land.

(It’s not unlike the fate of the wolves
**in the Lower Forty-eight,
which men thought as despicable
**as mosquitos, gripped by hate.)

The last one died in ’36
**at the zoo. For pics, like a mutt,
Benjamin walked and yawned and scratched
**and bit the shutterbug’s butt.

That striped marsupial carnivore—
**more real than Bigfoot, Yeti
or the Jersey Devil—left scores of fossils.
**Yet we are always ready—

in case we catch one dashing, digging
**or dining—to snap a photo
because—who knows?—they may not all
**be dead like the poor dodo.

Still, for eighty years there’s been
**scant proof he is extant.
So why, then, don’t we say goodby
**you ask? We simply can’t!

Symbol of Tasmania,
**badge of the cricket team,
featured on the coat of arms,
**he inspires a lofty dream:

Wouldn’t it be fine to clone
**a museum specimen?
Wouldn’t it be a thrill to see
**him go extinct again?

Last edited by Martin Elster; 02-02-2021 at 09:49 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 01-14-2021, 10:57 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Plum Island, MA; Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 10,784
Default

Unless you're a diehard Thylacinus cynocephalus fan, there's much too much poem here, and much of it doesn't work well. But I like the ending. I'd suggest cutting it to:

Tasmanian Tiger

For over eighty years there’s been
**no proof he is extant.
So why, then, don’t we say goodby
**you ask? We simply can’t!

Symbol of Tasmania,
**badge of the cricket team,
featured on the coat of arms,
**he inspires a lofty dream:

Wouldn’t it be fine to clone
**a museum specimen?
Wouldn’t it be a thrill to see
**him go extinct again?


Maybe you could even match it up with a few similar short poems about other extinct species?

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 01-14-2021 at 11:03 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 01-14-2021, 11:34 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,852
Default

Thanks, Michael.

I’ve learned so much about the Tasmanian Tiger while working on the poem — including having watched videos of “Benjamin” (who died in Hobart Zoo due to neglect during a spell of extreme weather) — that I guess I have become sort of a fan of the species. But you may be right about there being “too much poem” for the topic. (Actually, I could have written even more!)

That said, I like your suggestion for cutting all but the last three stanzas. And also your other suggestion about possibly writing a set of poems about other extinct animals. That sounds like it could be a great project and I’ll start working on it.

Thanks again, Michael, for your good suggestions!

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-14-2021 at 11:46 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 01-15-2021, 12:04 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Plum Island, MA; Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 10,784
Default

Glad I could help.

The more I think about it, the more I think that a series (not just a few) of short poems - maybe all twelve liners - about extinct species would work well with your talents.

And then you could do another one with a related theme that I suspect is also up your alley. I can only think of "Yeti" and "Nessie", but I bet you know more.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 01-15-2021, 11:43 AM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 5,181
Default

In line with Michaelís last suggestion, I commend to you some Piltdown Men, whom I recently came across as the first selection on a link to an hour-long 2016 Canadian shortwave transmission posted on the Internet here . Trash with static. They have a Wikipedia entry.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 01-15-2021, 12:47 PM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: York
Posts: 90
Default

The November issue (278) of Snakeskin was devoted to Cryptozoology including Bigfoot and Nessie. Here
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 01-15-2021, 03:03 PM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 8,312
Default

Hi Martin,

This type of poem is definitely better short.

I didn't like "lofty dream" in the version you posted to start with, and I don't think its the kind of bang-on transition you need into the closing stanza. Maybe something can be done there with a word like "redeem" or
"esteem" (though the latter is kind of a bad rhyme with team).

Rick
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 01-15-2021, 03:43 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,852
Default

Michael - Thank you for your additional comments. Yes, I think a series of short poems with different extinct species would be fun to work on. I might try different forms for each poem, but keep them fairly short.

I find that actual living and extinct animals interest me more than mythological or fictitious creatures do, though a series about them might be a good counterpart to the real animals.

Allen - Thanks for link to those songs by The Piltdown Men. It has so much static that it’s hard to listen to. I’ll bet that a tiny portion of that static is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation of our universe. (My fairly new TV also has distortion for some reason, especially in the low register.) But maybe I can find something on YouTube.

Joe - Thanks for reminding me about that Snakeskin issue, which I knew about but haven’t yet read, so it’s time for me to do so.

Rick - Thank you. I agree that a shorter poem is the way to go (though I might miss some of the imagery and word-play of the earlier stanzas). Regarding “lofty dream,” I want to try to keep “dream” but take out “lofty.” So I may try something like this:

Symbol of Tasmania,
**badge of the cricket team,
featured on the coat of arms,
**he rouses us to dream:


or: “he moves us all to dream:”

That gets rid of “lofty,” which I have a feeling is the word that bothers you. I don’t really need that adjective. Plus, I like “team/dream” — a noun and a verb, which I think is better than two nouns for the rhyme.

PS Revision posted.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-15-2021 at 03:46 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 01-15-2021, 04:54 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,845
Default

.
Hi Martin,
I am an old dog in some respects, and am slow to muster the curiosity to learn more about creatures such as the Tasmanian tiger, extinct animals, mythology in general, or much of anything that is in the realm of zoology, bones, or Game of Thrones.

I like what you've done to shorten/sharpen it. I wonder if you need either of the two commas in S1L3. To my ear it sounds best when said without pause.

Maybe another word for "fine" in S3L1.

Nothing would thrill me less than watching an animal go extinct. Especially again. I'd either have to look away or do something to save the species.

The thing I enjoy most about the poem is the meter/rhythm. I like Michael's idea of a series of twelve or so creatures in the same boat as the Tasmanian tiger. And then another group of poems dedicated to the hoax creatures that just won't die, living for eternity on conspiracy theories ó including the one who's packing his bags in the White House. The Orange baboon.
.
.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 01-15-2021, 06:05 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,852
Default

Hi Jim,

Thanks for stopping by! Animals are fun to write about, even extinct ones (sometimes). It takes some research to find out as much as possible about the creature.

I’m glad you like the revision. I’ll think about taking out the comma from S1, L3. It does seem to read smoother without it.

Quote:
Nothing would thrill me less than watching an animal go extinct. Especially again. I'd either have to look away or do something to save the species.
In the last two lines, I am trying to inject a bit of irony. So I agree with you: I would hate to see a cloned creature brought back from extinction and then watch it go extinct again. There are other extinct animal species that could theoretically be brought back. But how could they survive, much less thrive, in such a vastly different environment and climate from the times in which they originally lived?

I’m pleased you enjoyed the rhythm of the poem. That’s something I arrived at after some experimenting, as my initial drafts were in pentameter and then tetrameter.

I, too, like Michael’s idea for a series. I’m on it! I’ll see how that goes before deciding on hoax creatures (though they are interesting as well). I agree with you totally about the “Orange baboon,” a subject that has been and will be written about till the end of time.

Benjamin, the last captive Thylacine

This video shows “Ben” and a few other Thylacines in captivity between 1912-1933.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugSKHnk_XLE

By the way, the thylacine (a marsupial) was falsely accused of killing sheep in Australia, so there was a bounty on their heads. That was partly what did them in. On the other hand, I read (a while ago) that they were already on their way out, mostly due to dingos competing with them for the same kinds of animals they hunted. There were likely other reasons they went extinct as well. (I can't recall now everything I've read about them.)

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-15-2021 at 06:18 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,142
Total Threads: 20,349
Total Posts: 258,510
There are 185 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online