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The Power of Instinct

08 April, 2015: The Power of Instinct


by P.K. Saha
The Power of Instinct
At Rancho Nuevo, on the smooth beaches
of Mexico’s eastern coast,
when the time comes to lay eggs
the Kemp’s ridley turtle always returns
to the sands it first touched as a hatchling.
Even when biologists take it far away
it swims thousands of miles, back to the same spot.
And there it lays its eggs
and then lies panting, looking around with beady eyes.

Frankly, I am not as impressed as the biologists.
Years ago in a coin shop
I met Bill Hadley of Beachview, Ohio.
No matter how far away he may be,
on a golf course, or in a bar, or at a wedding,
he unfailingly returns to the same branch of Central Bank
on the precise day his certificates mature.
And his eyes glisten
as the new zeros are typed on smooth, fresh paper.

“The Power of Instinct” by P.K. Saha from Voices of Cleveland: A Bicentennial Anthology of Poems by Contemporary Cleveland Poets, Ed. Leonard Trawick. Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1996. Used with permission of the author.

A native of Calcutta, India, P.K. Saha has lived in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights for many years; he retired from his position as professor of linguistics at Case Western Reserve University in 1994. He served as etymology consultant for Webster's New World Dictionary and has published over 200 poems, stories, articles and books worldwide.


An analogy compares things that have differences and similarities.

Write a poem comparing anyone, even a stranger you once met, to an animal.
Mary Turzillo
This is a very witty poem, or perhaps I should say sardonic. Those 0000s are definitely a reason to return.
4/26/2015 10:10:57 PM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.