Tag Archives: animal poems

Granite Creek

The first of December

Drawing back the curtains

I see you, standing, stock still

At the water bowl.

Wary of my disturbance

Your perfect antlers

Framing the pine,

Our eyes meet,

And you stare me down

Then, deciding I pose no threat,

You stoop to drink,

Eagerly, and alone,

Your precious oasis

Above the dry creek bed.

I had longed to see you

One last time before I go.

I too stand silent,

Drinking in the image of you,

A perfect parting gift

This icy winter’s morning.

Henri and the Snail

The two of us, alike, you and I.

Creatures both confined.

One to his shell

One to his bed.

Candlelight through a spiral transparency

Cradled so carefully between

Thumb and forefinger of my left hand.

I drew, and drew,


Studied and learned

The essence of form and shape

Abstraction of nature

Growing, unfurling,

Brittle calcium hardening,

Then tumbling,

Green over blue

Finding the centre

My whole world, for a while,

Purified to one movement

One cut

One dance.

The Pelican Tree


Monday evening, in Arizona, we stood in the gathering dusk

Enjoying the last of the day’s golden sun.

The aperitif being somewhat strong, I saw two pelicans, nesting in my neighbour’s tree.

‘Look!’ I said to my love ‘Hidden in the branches!

See how they preen! Their swan-like necks dip and dive,

Their patterns weaving sweet nothings In adoration of their mate.

See how they dance, like you and I;

Tangling together in pelican intimacy’.

We stood, entranced, willing those birds to show themselves;

To peek out from their leafy nest; to shine in all their snow-white glory.

We waited, long into the night, till the waking stars meant we could see no more.

We bade them goodnight; we wished their journey well,

And marveled at these precious moments shared.

How symbolic, we decided, of our fledgling love,

A birdlike omen that proves our love will last.

Next morning, with daybreak, I early rose,

To see my precious pelicans.

Transformed now into pampas grass,

Snow-white heads waving, swan-like, in the breeze.


My seas are trawled both night and day

My species feeds the nation

Though most will only eat me

After my decapitation

I’m comfort food, sardines on toast,

A late-night treat to savour

A piscatorial delight

Of unintended flavour

I’m baked, I’m dried, I’m deep-fat fried

Some people like to cobble ‘em,

But still despite my tasty bite

I have an image problem.

If something’s not quite what it seems

You’re gonna think it’s fishy,

I make a most delicious dish,

But no-one thinks I’m dishy

I have a wife, though never wed;

I drink more than I oughter,

I’m out of place, I don’t fit in,

A fish that’s out of water.

I’m wet, I’m queer, I do not blink,

I have a smell that lingers,

The ultimate in mockery

A fish don’t have no fingers.

And as you tuck into your plate

Of starry-gazy pie,

My skyward-looking head declares

‘I didn’t want to die’

So if your meal does not appeal,

Or if you’re feeling blue,

Before you eat, consider this:

That fish have feelings too.