Category Archives: Animals

The Wild Life

The Wild Life

If you’re yearning for the wild life but haven’t a clue
about how to go about it, here’s a hint for you.
Gratify your need by visiting the zoo
to ogle hippopotami and maybe get a view
of zebra or a lion or a cheetah or a gnu.
Snap photos of a reindeer or a caribou.

See monkeys in their cages or an eagle in its aerie.
Hang out at the petting zoo if eagles are too scary.
Give the lambs sweet clover and all the ponies oats.
Pat their little heads and stroke their hairy coats.
Stop by aerated pools to touch a koi’s smooth scales,
keeping a proper distance from the killer whales.

In this modern world where violence is rife,
one need not act out to enjoy the wild life.
So put away your crossbow, your rifle or your knife
and head out to the game park with your kids and wife.
You need not stalk your game through the forest or the fens.
Better to hunt your wildlife through a camera  lens.

Prompt words today are aerate, scary, zoo, gratify and give.

Doggies of the Realm

Illustration by Isidro Xilonzóchitl, copyright Judy Dykstra-Brown, 2020

Doggies of the Realm

In seeking to coordinate the canines of the realm,
they formed a grand committee with a countess at the helm
to account for all the dachshunds and classify the terriers,
find greyhounds in their kennels and yorkies in their carriers,
to track down the grand pyrenees up in the highest rocks,
to record all the lapdogs and dalmatians on their walks.

At first strict in her discipline in separating breeds,
in protecting bloodlines and meeting owners’ needs,
when her helpers warned her that they’d run out of spaces,
she had to capitulate in order to find places.
Since they’d run out of kennels, she had to loosen rules.
She locked labs in the closets, tied boxers to the newels.

Put shih tzus in the cupboards and toy poodles in the drawers,
stored retrievers in the boathouse, tied Chihuahuas to the oars.
She felt she’d scored the jackpot when the prisoners all made bail
and so they handed over the former county jail.
She converted all the cellblocks into canine cages
and began to fill up rosters—pages upon pages.

At first she sorted breeds using a system alphabetical,
but later sorting systems became  more hypothetical,
and as her sorting powers eroded over time,
soon she had her doggies classified by rhyme.
For example, in the cages assigned to standard poodles,
she filled the extra corners with the labradoodles.

She recorded canines of every breed and size—
dogs with every length of hair, in every shape and guise,
until at last she had them all down in black and white—
every wagging tail and every growl and bite.
So the snappers and the lickers, the yappers and the yippers
got to go back home to retrieve their masters’ slippers!!

Prompt words today are realm, coordinate, jackpot, capitulate and walk.

Trouble in Paradise

WANTED!!!

(Click on mug shots to enlarge for better identification.)

Oh man. Brian pooped in the sala and peed in the spare bedroom, in spite of the fact that I took him out twice last night and once this morning. Then Annie cried all morning in spite of the fact I’d given her food, water and head scratches—perhaps because Brian was in my bed with me? Put Brian out, put a cushy bed for him out on the side of the house and opened gate for Morrie to join him in the side and front yard so they could play without Diego’s interference. Morrie immediately went for the cat food in this usual cat’s domain and then for Annie, whom I had forgotten was in the front garden. Chased her behind the big planter, where she was cowering when I came out to put Morrie back in the back yard and to rescue Annie. There are not enough zones in this house! I don’t know that I have a solution to the problem. Brian is crying outside but I won’t have an animal who pees and poops inside!  Help.

1/2 hour later. Good news. Brian has stopped crying.

Monument

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Monument

A cow is screaming across the arroyo. Fireworks explode in honor of whatever saint’s day is being celebrated this week, drowning out her loud shrieking bellows. It is twelve hours later that someone finds the cow, her horns caught in the wire fence. Too late to save her, they do the kind thing and a single shot rings out. When her owner leaves her for the buzzards, a stench settles over the neighborhood, and we pay a man to cover her in quicklime. It is months later that someone ventures up to find a perfect effigy of the cow—jaws open in her last cries of agony. In mistaking concrete for quicklime, the man we paid to do away with her has instead constructed her monument. Immortalized on that mountain where few others will ever see her, I often see her in my dreams.

For dVerse Poets, we were to write a story of 144 words or less that made use of the line about the screaming cow above. You can read the stories others wrote on the topic by hitting the dVerse link above. This one is exactly 144 words. True story, by the way.

Kittenish

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Kittenish

Happy child with brand new kitten,
fully rapt, besotted, smitten.
Length of yarn a perfect toy
for kitten, pulled by playful boy.

Every toy another gimmick,
child on floor, a playful mimic.
Rolling over, willy-nilly,
feeling loving. Feeling silly.

All day long, antics and fun
in the house or in the sun.
Inside, outside, all the same.
With a kitten, life’s a game.

Sundown creates a sleepy-head
tucked under covers, snug in bed.
Mom and Dad survey the scene.
Gentle snores. Quiet. Serene.

Window open, curtains billow.
Kitten curled up on the pillow
nested in her master’s hair.
Two creatures in their common lair.

 

Prompt words today are mimic, silly, smitten and happy.

For dVerse Poets Quadrille: Extinction

jdb photo

Today I read a story about a man who led big game hunting expeditions whose claim was that he could guarantee a kill with one hundred percent surety.  Ironically enough, after shooting a water buffalo and posing with his kill, he was fatally gored by another water buffalo. This was perhaps on my mind as I wrote this poem on the subject of extinction for the quadrille challenge. Please note that I am not in favor of big game hunting. In the last lines, I’m talking about luck in a general sense, not in terms of big game hunting. I took this photo in Kenya in 1967.

 

Extinction

If we all were always winners, winning would lose distinction.
Every hunter bagging game would lead to their extinction.
So to qualify my wishes, I guess that I’ll just say
I hope when it’s your turn for luck, that it will come your way!

for dVerse Poets

Broken Dreams

 

Annie at 17 years old.

My seventeen year old cat, Annie, has for the past two years been awakening me at various early-morning hours to be fed. It makes no difference if I feed her at midnight or 2 am or whenever I choose to turn in for the night. At 4 or 5 or 6, her piercing yowls shock me awake and there is nothing to be done other than to get up to flop an entire can of Fancy Feast into her feeding bowl. She’s taken over my bathroom with her food and water dishes, her litter tray and her bed, so for two years I’ve showered in the guest shower. This old girl rules my world. Today’s five o’clock awakening gave rise to this poem. 

Broken Dreams

I doused my dream to greet the day, but to my great annoyance.
reality, alas, cannot compete with its flamboyance.
The dream was psychedelic and meandering in its plot.
It had all the excitement that my waking life has not.

Before the day resumes its hold, since night is not yet done,
I’ll return to my pillow and awaken to the sun.
The old cat’s fed, the dogs still sleep and so, with luck, shall I.
Perhaps I’ll find that dream again. At least, I’m going to try.

 

Annie at one month, in my headphone case.

Prompt words today are psychedelic, doused, annoy and day.