Category Archives: poems about animals

Katydid? What did Katydo? For dVerse Poets

Click on photos to enlarge. Can you find the katydid in the  third photo?

 

Katydid? Just What Did Katy Do?

If you were in a salad or a stir fry, I would have taken you for a pea pod,
crunched you right down with the next forkful.
But instead you stand in bright green relief against the gray trash can lid,
stroking your proboscis with your curious hand shaped like a snake’s tongue.
Your six legs in graduated pairs:  long, longer, longest
bend constantly in 360 degree angles
as each moves in turn to your anemone mouth
which plays each like a piano
trying to stroke music from the keys.
As hand after foot after foot
vanishes into your mouth––
front flap like an apron hanging down––
I wonder if you are perhaps feeding
on nourishment too minuscule for human eyes.

Your broad chest expands and deflates like a bellows.
Praying mantis, grasshopper, leaf-hopper, pea pod––
Whatever it is you most resemble––none have your talent or your wing power.
Your alien protuberant eyes like small yellow beebees.
Now trapped in my jar, you define your glass prison with leg after leg, like a mime.
Colorful strayer from a world of green,
what do you make of this white world of mine?
I have stolen you for a closer look, and for this short hour,
You have enthralled me with your alien looks.
Your mystery.
So much I’ve been told of everything here in this new land strange to me,
each from a different point of view,
that now I feel the need to look at everything more closely for myself.
But you, in a jar, perhaps not knowing you are observed,
farm each foot in turn for something so infinitesimal,
then drum drum the glass.
“What is there?” you seem to ask.
“What is this new world?”
Nothing to nourish you here.
I sit staring in at you.
That artichoke mouth doesn’t look made for singing,
opening like petals of a flower as you put your foot in it.
Like an old man pushing himself backwards
from piece of furniture to piece of furniture,
you limp around the glass on geriatric legs and padded feet.

We move to the terrace,
where I put you down
On the leaf of a geranium
in the crumbling pot up on the wall.
Putting your heels down first,
you test each new leaf for it’s ability to support or give.
Each hand and foot is like a tiny forked penis hanging from green testicles–
the penis one forked finger, mining space
then gripping the leaf, fore and aft as your
anemone mouth
moves over it like a slice of watermelon
held the wrong way––
not side to side like a calendar illustration,
but front to back, even bites
increasing its inside arc.
In five minutes, one-fourth of the leaf is gone.
and you move to another
like a child with a cookie in each hand.
My ink run out, I leave you
And when I come back, you are invisible
against the potted geranium that I have set you down in.
Your mouth like a different insect
reaches tendril arms out for the leaf edge,
takes sharp bites–like a leaf cutter ant.
The white front flap of your mouth
sweeping the diminishing leaf edge like a vacuum cleaner.
One-quarter of the leaf gone in five minutes.
You fly to the tree branch next to me, startling me,
as finally we stand eye-to-eye at the same level.
You stand more clearly defined,
for you are the yellow green of geranium,
not the dark green of this tree.
Here you are more blended in shape than color

As you change your diet––
eating not the leaves, but stems of leaves––
you rock on a hobby horse of legs.
Your chest like bagpipes
expands and releases,
rippling like an air balloon.
Now that so many of your mysteries have been revealed,
I solve your only secret left––
the origin of your song.
You play “Las Mananitas” for your lady,
with your compadres joining for the chorus,
one wing your violin,
the other your bow.
My night newly passionless,
fills with the sounds of yours.

 

To hear Katydids, you can go HERE. And for a fascinating closeup video of what I experienced first hand above, go HERE.

This is a poem I wrote about a katydid many years ago.Go HERE to read other poems written for the dVerse Poets prompt to write a poem about an animal. If you want to see the prompt, go HERE.

Kleptoparasitic Tendencies

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Kleptoparasitic Tendencies

At first sight of the sperm whales, the fishermen all cringe,
for these felons of the ocean loiter on the fringe,
and when they hear the motors hauling in  the lines,
each poacher dives to steal the fish, hook after hook, and dines.
The perils of the ocean include gale-force wind and rain,
but this larceny of sperm whales is the larger pain.

 

To see sperm whales targeting fishing boats for an easy meal, go HERE.

Prompt words for the day are fringe, rain, first, felon and fish.

Love’s Meander

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Love’s Meander

In those first months of its success,
when first love starts to evanesce,
we flounder in its first excesses,
never guessing what the stresses
are that love will soon let loose–
when the gander feels the noose
and in his imagination
conjures up a short vacation
wherein he is free to wander
here and there and over yonder
to see what other lovebirds might
desire to feel his loving bite.
Needless to say, his sudden bolt
may give his present love a jolt,
and when he chooses to meander,
what cooks the goose may burn the gander!

Word prompts today are bolt, lovebirds, goose, evanesce and imagination. Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash. Used with permission.

Animal Voices

 

 

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Animal Voices

My cat is very subtle, so I named her Innuendo.
Not so for the dogs, who always speak in a crescendo.

When they feel romantic, cats may wail an eerie tune,
but dogs need no testosterone to prompt their nightly croon.

Cats vocalize for grand events. Dogs blather on at small things:
a squirrel on the garden wall–literally all things.

Every passing siren causes canine howls to bloom.
They seem to herald catastrophe–to signal the world’s doom.

If cats should chance to dream a tune, they keep it in their bosom,
but I think dogs release their songs simply to amuse ’em.

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Word prompts today are: innuendo, bloom, bosom, blather and tune.

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.

Overpacking

 

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Overpacking

Where is it that a cat belongs? She’ll be the judge of that.
Wherever I am going, I am sure to need a cat.
She’ll help me with my packing and be my memory
so I don’t forget to take her when I set out to sea.

She can’t see how her company could go against my wishes.
A cat goes well with boats and anywhere where there are fishes.
Each morning she repacks herself and each night in the dark
she asks herself once more just when we’ll finally embark.

After a week of packing, my case is finally full.
I shut the lid, secure the lock, pick up the strap and pull.
I’m off to catch the red eye that will fly me off to Rome
to catch the boat that for one week will make do as my home.

I have packed so carefully, checking off my list
that I’m sure there’s nothing that I could have missed.
But I know that Annie, sleeping curled up on her mat,
when she wakes up and finds me gone, will not agree with that.

In spite of her best efforts, alas, she’s left behind.
It seems that human planning isn’t always kind
to cats who have spun fantasies of travel and romance.
Did human plans concur with hers? Poor Annie. Not a chance.

It’s a wonderful coincidence that the dVerse Poets prompt today is “Felines,” since just this morning I found this photo taken three weeks ago as I packed for my Mediterranean cruise with my sister. I meant to publish it back then but forgot and was wondering when it would be appropriate to use it as an illustration. I didn’t have to wait long to find out.

 

Unlikely Pairing

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Unlikely Pairing

One ungainly orphan elephant, wandering and uncertain
of where his journey’s leading him, comes upon a curtain
of mist that rises from the plain, shimmering, evanescent.
The stars now muted overhead, the moon a fuzzy crescent.
He splits the curtain, comes upon a lone and lost impala
split off from the herd during some wild stampeding gala.
They form a duo and plod on, each looking for a herd.
Such an unlikely couple. Impossibly absurd.
And yet they struck a certain chord, each one with the other.
She was the sister that he lacked, and he her missing brother.
One thing led to another. She fit him like a glove,
and before they knew it, the two were fast in love.
When the baby came, it looked a bit like a nyala,
a bit like a rhinoceros––an elephantiala!!

Prompts today are intent, orphan, elephant (good grief) and evanescent. Add this one, too: curtain.

Unplanned Sighting

I had driven Yolanda home after giving her the gift for Yoli, which was too fragile to hand carry down the hill, and the day too hot as well. Her street is a long one with no guaranteed fast exit to the carretera as side streets are  usually plugged with trucks parked in their middle or chairs and canopy out for a funeral visitation or children playing soccer or neighbors gathered in front of a makeshift tienda—table spread with crisp snacks or candies or huge jug of horchata. So after leaving her off, I drove the long blocks to the main street that leads down to the malecon—and the glorious monstrous magnolia tree that is home to dozens of huge snowy egrets—most of whom bedeck its top branches like glorious white magnolias. Maddening that in my rush I didn’t grab my camera, as one particular egret was putting on an incredible show. If it was a mating ritual, no creature other than myself seemed to be noticing, but, in lieu of a camera, I have to try to share it with you.  The photos above are of previous viewings and none of them present the incredible performance I saw today.  Oh, that I had been able to show you that glorious long neck snaking out in an expanding “S,” again and again against the unbroken blue of the sky, then the whipping of the fragile long  feathers of the underwings!                    

 

Unplanned Sighting

Delicate white fan,
glorious in its expanse,
puffed chest expanding upwards,
    above it sinuous long neck expanding, roiling upwards
as though in supplication, or crowing splendor,
wing fanning and then whipping out, again and again
that S of neck from the top of the
biggest tree in town
majestically
jeweled with the glorious bedecking
of egrets at rest, tucked into themselves,
unlike you, glorious worshiper of calm blue sky,
spreading your feathers as though seeking to be the envy
of all those others whose gazes seem to be
directed inwards, to private memories.
     Only I, human observer of your world, to witness
caught helpless, without camera,
­­­­only an eye and tongue
to try to convey
your lovely
fragile
swaying

ballet of puffed
             pride or
grooming?

 

Only three prompt words today. One of the sites didn’t post.  The words are chest, envy and gaze. Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/rdp-sunday-chest/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/04/07/fowc-with-fandango-envy/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/gaze/

 

Retribution

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Retribution

He built himself a sanctuary in the old garage
to shelter from his mom’s complaints, his stepfather’s barrage
of insults that he spewed out whenever he drank beer
and his teenage stepson happened to be near.
He frequented the shadows of their viral house.
Took shelter in the attic, quiet as any mouse.
Hid out in the garden in a cave of loam.
Anyplace his stepfather was not became his home.

His meals lacked spice and savor also missing in his mother.
Her meals furnished nutrition, but very little other.
No laughter flavored mealtimes. The food rendered no spice.

He secreted small bits of food—a slice of bread, some rice—
to feed to his companions—a family of mice.
It was worth the beatings that he’d suffered twice
when that man not his father saw him hide away
some morsel in his pocket and said he’d have to pay.

 Raising his fist, he said he would take it from his hide
and gave another beating  to the boy who never cried.
The boy who simply stored it up—kept all of it inside—
bore the abuse stoically and then crept outside
to commune with his real family who lived in wall and  rafter
of the garage he’d made his home, and filled with love and laughter.
They came out at his bidding, swarmed around his feet
to eat a bit of porridge, some carrot or a beet.

Some crackers from his school lunch, some lettuce or a plum,
proved the presence of a heart that otherwise was numb.
Mice frequented his pockets and sat upon his shoulder—
every generation seeming to grow bolder.
They slipped into his mother’s house when she was sound asleep
and crept into those places where he could never creep.
They nestled in her shoes and chewed out all the toes,
severed all her bra straps, gnawed holes in all her hose.

They found the belt the monster man used to beat their friend,
dragged it deep under the bed and chewed it end-to-end.
When they crept into the larder to finish off the pie,
it must have been an accident that the can of lye
spilled into the sugar, pouring out in one fine stream
right into the bowl that would be placed beside the cream
on the breakfast table.  For how could it be
that vermin knew only the man took sugar in his tea?

 

The prompt words today are sanctuary, garage and nutrition.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/rdp-saturday-sanctuary/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/02/09/fowc-with-fandango-garage/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/your-daily-word-prompt-nutrition-february-9-2019/

Basking

Basking

Cats love of apricity is more than just a fluke.
It is a vital tendency and so we can’t rebuke
our cats for lying prone a lot in any ray of sun.
A cat’s in need of toasting as much as any bun.
If you can imagine a Kardashian without
the flash of any flashbulb, you will without a doubt
be able to imagine a cat without the rays
filtered through venetian blinds, or fully in the blaze
of a scorching summer sun. A cat can withstand all
the heat that we can give them, in summer, winter fall.
And if there is no sun at all, a cat can just make do
with the full attention of a surrogate like you!!!

(Enlarge all photos by clicking on any one.)

Prompt words for today are vital, rebuke, apricity and imagine.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/rdp-monday-vital/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/01/14/fowc-with-fandango-rebuke/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/your-daily-word-prompt-apricity-january-14-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/imagine/