This just in, from X.J. Kennedy himself

When X.J. Kennedy learned of our giveaway in celebration of his 83rd birthday he just couldn’t hold back. Calling us “magnanimous” for wanting to give away one of his books, Kennedy suggested a few answers to our question, such as “antiquated,” “rimed and metrical,” “stanzaic,” “crafted,” and our favorite, “oldfangled.”

None of these answers will win you a book, but they’re certainly exemplary of Kennedy’s humor and his finely honed sense of style, as is the poem below, which first appeared in The Atlantic in June, and which Kennedy asked us to publish for our blog readers. Enjoy:

Lonesome George

   giant tortoise kept penned

   at the Darwin Research Station,

  Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

 

No mate for him exists.
Last one of his subspecies,
he solemnly persists
in turning into feces
eelgrass brown and dry,
spine-sprinkled cactus leaves.
Straining to gulp a fly,
he hastily retrieves
blunt head. Dead-ending male,
lone emblem of despair,
he slumps on his knees, his tail
antennaing the air.
For a long moment we bind
sympathetic looks,
we holdouts of our kind,
like rhymed lines, printed books.

—X. J. Kennedy

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