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Animal Poems

Updated on October 29, 2015
chef-de-jour profile image

Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. His poems are published online and in print.

Animal Poetry

Poets have been writing about animals since the dawn of civilisation and the written symbol, in an attempt to capture their essence. Some of the most powerful poetry produced in modern times has the animal kingdom as inspiration.

Animal poems can also help us understand the natural world, particularly important for children.

Walt Whitman, that giant of American poetry, wrote some stunning long lines in the classic Song of Myself. Stanza 32 contains a fascinating glimpse into the poet's heart as he introduces us to the animal world.

I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,

I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,...........

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,

What follows are original poems I've written over the last few years. I hope you enjoy them.


Toad | Source

To a Big Toad

Meditative clod,

sluggish guru,

belly full of inertia

waiting for dark

thin lips

tight locked.

A cold focus

you have on life,

staring stones into

submission as rain pelts.

Why so bored?

Have you a burden

made of mud?

Deep inside burn

the fires that light

amber eyes.

Can we communicate?

Finger, toad.

You flop away

into gruesome moulds

of strawy compost, a reluctant

heavy never taught

frog's light plop and play


Bufo bufo bufo,

triple echo in a rumbling




The Pigs That Might Fly

Slightly in love

these pigs and I,

watching them

eat and play not fly.

The way they chomp

an apple core,

wolf down scraps

then wolf some more.

Their attitude to

the hallowed trough

so businesslike –

heads down, scoff,

lick till clean!

Each day they grow

in size and splendor,

each day they know

Two Legs will appear

answering their snorts

and grunts with

a bucket of allsorts.

Slightly in love

with dense, drum tight

flesh and bloody ears;

a creature that might

eat you and me

were it not for their

intelligence and sense

of playing fair?

Somewhere between

magical and laughable

these pigs are, helpless

rooters, those beautiful

eyes closing on stars

in a cosy straw bed.

Four porkers packed

cheek by jowl in this shed.


Coyote in Yosemite West
Coyote in Yosemite West | Source

Coyote in Yosemite

I am waking in an iced car.

Insomniac's days.

Miles through a night

of grey dyed towns

and crystallized trees

to pristine snow.

A silence within

silence only old rock

can bring

is vulgarized by a sniffing


marking our wheels with

wild juice,

making sense of the journey.


Signal Crayfish
Signal Crayfish | Source

Watery Truth

American crayfish

come out for tea

and make a stand

as willows crack.

Whatever their rights or wrongs

they follow machine shadows

to the waiting baits

of the dangling kids.

A bit of meat is their undoing

they hit autumnal air still chewing

their delicate legs

go clack clack clack

clack clack clack

as the willows crack

and the river turns the bend.


On The Very Old Road

Hedgerows blush red

leading to a child.

Berries, millions up and down.

Corridors mad with wheels

Friday twilight. The child's

name on a tree. Pathetic food gifts

from anonymous drivers.

Purple balloon escapes.

You are so slow these days.

Then two hares field edge

leg it, listening to everything

an island conjures up.


Certain Trout

Blink, gone,

our shadows

loose plumes

of mud.

The river’s trick

is to mirror

life above water,

fool us and

you and the flies -

gulp the cloud,

swallow rainbows,

wear them.


Far Field Lambs

Twins slip out onto frosted grass,

rescued passengers

breath glued

in a lunar mucus.


by the sculptress ewe

unconscious smiles give voice

whilst she cooks up hot milk

under dripping shagpile.

All this in dawn air demanding

they stagger, shiver on soft hooves

not yet weird eyed,

tails silent rattles

as they search and suck.

Mother's breath floats

above sloped acres

as their desperate mouths foam

and the haemorrhaging afterbirth

hangs in its own steam,

dregs of a dream.

We're beckside where birch

somehow conjure up tiny twists

of fragile green.


Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926) wrote some beautiful poems about nature and animals in particular. His intuitive insights are well worth reading. Take these lines from The Eighth Duino Elegy.

With all its eyes the natural world looks out

into the Open. Only our eyes are turned

backward, and surround plant, animal, child

like traps, as they emerge into their freedom.


The enigmatic cat.
The enigmatic cat. | Source

The Cat Riff

As the moon profiles your wanderings,

may your eyes turn red in the beam

of spotlights, your ears twitch

electrically when birds sing at dawn

and your claws cut the edge

of time.

May your whiskers be stroked,

fingered, stretched, in the laps of

musical gods,

dark and unfathomable.

May your heart

drumming beat rhythms to your

sinews highly strung feline.

Between soft purring and trod

on tail may the art of climbing frets

keep strings tense, the focus held,

notes all particular.

When we stare into the purple light

wondering, quietly rapturous,

may your solos fill the night.


Seals, Lewis, Outer Hebrides

How far a wave travels before it gets to you

and reveals itself

for what it is.

What it is not.

Beautiful chaos crazed kelp helpless

in Atlantic swell but those

grey shadows anything

but deranged slip like

a mistake near Dell Rock’s

barnacled gneiss,

oiled phantoms of seething water

suddenly bobbing up

nonchalant heads

quizzing why I stand

governed by time always reduced

to a deadline.


House Bats Emerge From The Nursery

From loft to night

the dance begins

the circle dance

the dark weave

of mothers around

tall warm pine

their hypnotic take

on shadows cast

in a moon light

that has sister silvering,

little sister who crafts

the stories of learning,

teaching the quiet art

to those who master

blindness, trusting the night

like we do the sun

repeating silences

frequenting that language

of faith,

the blood leaving

dawn for the brain.


These poems about animals are based on my own observations and feelings. You are welcome to use all or part of any poem as long as you acknowledge the author in a proper fashion.

copyright chef-de-jour@Hubpages

Original work. Help stop plagiarism and content theft.

© 2012 Andrew Spacey


Submit a Comment
  • Daisy Mariposa profile image

    Daisy Mariposa 

    7 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)


    I love reading poetry about unusual subjects. What a brilliant collection of poems! Well done!

  • profile image

    Olde Cashmere 

    7 years ago

    Brilliant set of poems chef-de-jour. These are all fantastic and entertaining with the words. Voting up and rating beautiful and awesome.

  • KrisL profile image


    7 years ago from S. Florida

    These were such a pleasure.

    The spare elegance of "Certain Trout" makes it my favorite.

    Funniest lines for me were in "Watery Truth"

    "A bit of meat is their undoing

    they hit autumnal air still chewing"

    I also appreciated how "Far Field Lambs" catches the violence and hope of birth. In fact, I could quote a favorite line or theme from every one.

    Voted "up" and awesome, shared and tweeted.

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    7 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Many thanks for the comments, I appreciate them very much.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    What a magnificent collection of animal poetry. I enjoyed this so much. Up, awesome, beautiful and sharing.

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 

    7 years ago from California

    These are really beautiful--just excellent! Sharing--


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