Acipenser transmontansus

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Written by Gritfish

Ancient leviathan, giant fish: humble me! 
Your lineage reaches back to the Devonian-- 
For four hundred and five million years 
You have quietly lived in Earth's waters.
My lineage started one and three-quarter
Million years ago, in the early Pleistocene.
Your ancestry is more than two hundred and thirty
Times older than mine; your ancient and noble line
Has lived in harmony with Earth; no damage
To Mother Earth can be attributed to you.
White sturgeon, ancient leviathan: humble me!
Giant ghost of the river, how cleverly you are crafted.
Your snout and your head beveled gently downward
So that the river's current floats you close to the bottom.
Your tail curves upward to propel you forward;
You cruise your domain on floor of river or ocean
With ease and gentle majesty; no polluting technology needed
To travel from far in the ocean to reaches far up the river.
Your armored back protects you as you glide
Close to the bottom, feeding.
You breathe as easily in salt as fresh water.
I would survive mere minutes in any part of your world.
White sturgeon, how cleverly you are crafted.

Acipenser transmontansus, ancient sturgeon: teach me!
With marvelous economy you live out your long life.
Much of your diet has already died; you recycle prior life.
An occasional live fish, some molluscs or crayfish
May be taken for food but you are not savage.
You live long, attain great size and great power,
Truly a monarch, regal within your domain--
Unobtrusive, not harmful--in fact most of my kind
Are unaware of your presence.
For four hundred and five million years you
Have held court without harm to the planet.
In less than two million years my obstreperous species
Has wounded Mother Earth, perhaps mortally.
Acipenser transmontansus, ancient sturgeon: teach me!

Gritfish
© 1996

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