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resized menagerie

A fragile, unearthly prettiness has come out in Laura: she is like a piece of translucent glass touched by light, given a momentary radiance, not actual, not lasting.
― Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

Happy April to All and Welcome to Poetics! Lisa here as your pub host, offerer of liquid refreshment from the well-stocked bar and tasty snacks from the magic cupboard. It is my pleasure to be the provider of today’s Poetics Prompt.

As the weather is warming up a bit in Michigan, the critters are getting more active. I counted four species of squirrel under the bird feeders the other day. I spotted a robin, two male bluebirds fighting over one of the houses, and even a nightcrawler moving across the carport cement last week. These wee beasties were the impetus for today’s prompt. I went out looking for poems about animals and was kind of surprised at how many there were. I was more surprised as I went through some of them in that as much as they were describing the attributes of the animals themselves, they were also paralleling attributes that humans might have.


By Matthew Francis
After Robert Hooke

All afternoon a reddish trickle
out of the roots of the beech

and across the lawn,

a sort of  rust that shines and dances.
Close up, it proves to be ant,

each droplet a horned

traveler finicking its way round
the crooked geometry

of a grass forest…

After reading, “Ant,” I felt as if they could compare to each of us at one time or another “finicking” our “way round the crooked geometry” of our lives. This is an excerpt.  I do encourage you to follow the link here to read the rest of it.


belted kingfisher drawing _ top half_scaled 030621

Bird Brain
for Fernando Nottebohm
by Ronald Wallace

And yet, a beautiful complex thing
capable of producing such song!
And he loved them and wondered
how it was they learned such singing,
and some even learning, every year,
a new song! And so he clipped the
neurons in their right brain, their
left brain, leaving them speechless,
and came up with a theory of
neurogenesis that could benefit us all,
even the tone-deaf among us, who,
no matter how hard we work at it,
dissecting all day long, with our
Peterson Guides and bird tapes,
can grasp but a handful of bird notes,
and can’t sing a single song.

How many people know the sterile facts of a thing but not know its essence?


Wall Art - Painting - Channel Catfish fish animal watercolor painting by Juan  Bosco

By Claudia Emerson

It nuzzles oblivion, confuses
             itself with mud. A creature

of familiar taste, it ambushes
               from its nest of ooze the pond’s

brighter fish, clears its palate
              with their eggs, lumbers fat

and stagnant into winter, lulled
              into dreams of light sinking until

light drowns, and all is as before.

How many catfish have you met?

Free photo: Flamingo - Animal, Neck, Stockimage - Free Download - Jooinn


Paris, Jardin des Plantes, After Rilke
by William Logan

Fragonard might have bruised their white and red,
but themselves, they offer nothing,
as a lover does, glancing at you vaguely
from her vanity-table mirror.

They’re taken with themselves, cluttered
along the grass, roses on their stalks, stalking . . .
stalking the image deep in the feathers,
fruit gone ripe, then more than ripe.

There’s a screech in the birdhouse, a peacock —
even the peacock is jealous of them —
but there they walk, each an out-of-work actress,
into the naked audition of themselves.

Academy Awards Night immediately comes to mind.

Tropical snake. Watercolor : painting


By D. H. Lawrence

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there….

A favorite of mine from Lawrence. It’s kind of a long poem and so won’t include it all here, but I would encourage you to follow the link here to read the whole story. Snakes express myriad symbolic meanings across the world, from the great tempter, to the source of fertility.

Now that I’ve got you thinking about “lions and tigers and bears, oh my,” I would like to choose one (or more) of the following options to write your poem:
1) Choose any animal and consider its nature and write a poem about the animal;
2) Choose a particular attribute of an animal and write a poem that is about the animal but also an attribute that humans exhibit, similar to some of the above poems;
3) Create your own myth or fable involving animals.

There are no form, rhyme, or subject constraints in this prompt challenge. All I ask is that you have fun with it!

If you are new, here’s how to join in:
Post your piece on your blog and link back to this post.
Place the link to your actual post (not your blog or web site) in the Mister Linky site.
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Please read and comment on other poets’ work–we all come here to have our poems read.

Image sources:
Top image
The Ant
Kingfisher my drawing