The tortoise watches over all,
As silent as if made of stone
Instead of muscle, shell, and bone.

Unlike the hare, his steady crawl
Propels him when he's outward bound
To find a mate on higher ground.

His mind is quiet; he won't tell
The secrets of an inner bliss
Impervious to the serpent's kiss.

His soul is deeper than a well
Of clear, cold water filled up by
A hidden source that won't run dry.

On sunny days, he likes to roam
Around the landscape he calls home.
When stars are out, he pulls inside
His shell—to sing, to dream, to hide.

©2021 Michael Fraley

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