Category Archives: Animals

Bird of the Day: Female Vermilion Flycatcher May 29, 2020

I’ve been outside so much during this Shelter in Place period that I’ve been seeing lots of birds. I think Granny’s Bird of the Day prompt has ended so I’m just going to do my own private bird of the day for awhile. If anyone else wants to do so and link to it, just do so in comments. My friend Paul Hart, an avid birdwatcher and genius photographer, identified this for me.

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Dogs and Cats, NaPoWriMo 2020, Day 29

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Dogs and Cats

Cats are more bendable, dogs more dependable.
Cats are more stretchable, dogs much more fetchable.
Dogs rip and tear and their kisses are wetter.
Cats donate hair to your favorite sweater.

Dogs howl at the moon and bark at the neighbors.
Curling and stretching the extent of the labors
of cats whereas dogs display energy plus––
harassing the mailman or chasing a bus.

Both species have four feet, fur and a tail,

fall into two classes: female and male,
and when there is breakage, neither is to blame.
But that’s the extent of the ways they’re the same.

For day 29 of NaPoWriMo 2020, we were to write a poem about our pets.

Midnight Safari

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Midnight Safari

Tonight when I came into my house after a swim, maybe around 11:30 p.m., I went into the kitchen and there was a snake about a foot long and a half inch thick coiled in my sink!  It slithered under a plate and for some reason I ran water in the sink and he slipped down the drain onto the blades of the garbage disposal which were about five inches below the level of the sink!! It took some time for the water to drain, and then the flaps on the drain kept me from being able to look down and see if I could see him–and if he was moving. I put my ear close, trying to hear him, but heard no movement. Finally, I went to get a flashlight, put on long gloves and got a set of long-handled kitchen tongs. When I pushed back the rubber flaps on the drain and turned on the flashlight, I could see the snake coiled and it was moving! So it hadn’t drowned.  I went and got a wastebasket with a plastic liner bag and after 6 tries, finally picked up the snake with the tongs, dropped it in the can and released it outside. What a relief!!! This is only the second snake I’ve found inside in 19 years. No, it didn’t even occur to me to turn on the garbage disposal. Ew!!!

 

P.S. No, this isn’t a photo of tonight’s snake. There wasn’t time to take a photo. This is the first snake I found in the house, coiled behind the umbrella stand. The one tonight was shades of brown.  Always a new thrill.

 

Cat Meditation

(Click on first photo and then on arrows to enlarge photos.)

Cat Meditation

Entwined in my jacket, spread out on my quilt,
my cats take up the space they frequent with so little guilt.
I wonder what they visualize in their cache of dreams?
Is their sleep as peaceful as it always seems?

The dogs may twitch and bark and reach out paws in times of rest,
but cat sleep is so tranquil. They “do” their sleep the best.
They need no permission to tuck their chores away

and wander inward to their dreams, be it night or day.

Oh that I could rest away from all the world’s mad clatter. 
The dreams they dream upon your lap are helpful in the latter—
their purr the loveliest mantra to help your mind unfurl
as you become their mattress, pinned beneath their curl.

Words for the day are purr, visualize, helpful, cache and jacket.

Annie

Annie

My wild girl
gone so tame,
when repeatedly
you bleat

Now, Now, Now.
What is it

you ask for?
Perhaps

this planned sleep
after 18 

long years together?
There is

no way to meet
your demands

but one.
Good-bye
old friend.

Go to sleep.

 

 

FordVerse Poets Pub Quadrille Challenge: Wild

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.