Bruce Bennett


A Paean to Diego

About 50 years ago, the Galapagos giant tortoise population on the island of Espanola had dwindled to only two males and 12 females. Today, the population of the Chelonoidis hoodensis species… has been brought back from the brink of extinction. There are now about 2,000 of these giant tortoises on the island. Rather amazingly, more than 800 of them were fathered by a Galápagos giant tortoise named Diego, who’s now over 100 years old—and clearly loves the lady tortoises…. —Care2 Causes

Diego is spunky. Diego’s the best!
He never falls short. He is up for the test.
He’s prime for the ladies. For him they go mad.
And eight hundred tortoises know him as Dad.

He mounts them, then counts them. There’s never enough.
He’s ripe and he’s randy and he knows his stuff.
He’s cool and collected and does the act well.
He doesn’t retract or hide out in his shell.

He doesn’t write poems or get stuck with one Muse
who’ll haunt him and taunt him and always refuse
his clunky advances, then mock him and tease.
Oh no, not Diego. His ladies beg Please!

O flourish, Diego, Galápagos stud!
Don’t ever retreat. Never fire a dud.
Repopulate islands. Help poor poets learn
that only bold lovers get love in return!

Adolescent Nursery Rhyme

When Jack and Jill came down that hill
Their faces both were red.
If either fell, they would not tell.
Just ask their friends instead.

Bruce Bennett is Emeritus Professor of English at Wells College, where he taught literature and creative writing and directed the college’s Visiting Writers Series beginning in 1973. He and his wife, Bonnie, live in Aurora, New York. His latest book is Just Another Day in Just Our Town: Poems: New and Selected, 2000-2016 (Orchises Press, 2017).