Year: 
2021

These are poems about animals such as ants, canaries, ducks, dromedaries, elephants, hippos, mockingbirds, pelicans and ravens.

The Hippopotami
by Michael R. Burch

There’s no seeing eye to eye
with the awesomely huge Hippopotami:
on the bank, you’re much taller;
going under, you’re smaller
and assuredly destined to die!

***

Honeymoon Not-So-Sweet, or, Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
“When again, gentle bride?”
“Nevermore!” bright-eyed Raven replied.

***

The Platypus: a Double Limerick
by Michael R. Burch

The platypus, myopic,
is ungainly, not erotic.
His feet for bed
are over-webbed,
and what of his proboscis?

The platypus, though, is eager
although his means are meager.
His sight is poor;
perhaps he’ll score
with a passing duck or beaver.

Published by: Writer’s Journal, Poet’s Haven

***

The Trouble with Elephants: a Word to the Wise
by Michael R. Burch

An elephant never forgets
which is why they don’t make the best pets:
Jumbo may well out-live you,
but he’ll never forgive you
so you may as well save your regrets!

***

The Pitiful Pelican
by Michael R. Burch

Enough with this pitiful pelican!
He’s awkward and stinks! Sense his smellican!
His beak’s far too big,
so he eats like a pig,
and his breath reeks of fish, I can tellican!

***

A much-needed screed against licentious insects
by Michael R. Burch

after and apologies to Robert Schechter

Army ants? ARMY ants?
Yet so undisciplined to not wear pants?
How incredibly rude
to wage war in the nude!
We moralists call them SMARMY ants!

***

The Octopi Jars
by Michael R. Burch

Long-vacant eyes
now lodged in clear glass,
a-swim with pale arms
as delicate as angels’ . . .

you are beyond all hope
of salvage now . . .
and yet I would pause,
no,  fear!,
to once touch
your arcane beaks . . .

I, more alien than you
to this imprismed world,
notice, most of all,
the scratches on the inside surfaces
of your hermetic cells  . . .

and I remember documentaries of albino Houdinis
slipping like wraiths over walls of shipboard aquariums,
slipping down decks’ brine-lubricated planks,
spilling jubilantly into the dark sea,
parachuting down down down through clouds of pallid ammonia . . .

and I now know this: you were unlike me ...
your imprisonment was never voluntary.

Published by Triplopia and The Poetic Musings of Sam Hudson

***

Springtime Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

They’ll have to grow like crazy,
the springtime baby geese,
if they’re to fly to balmier climes
when autumn dismembers the leaves ...

And so I toss them loaves of bread,
then whisper an urgent prayer:
“Watch over these, my Angels,
if there’s anyone kind, up there.”

***

Options Underwater: The Song of the First Amphibian
by Michael R. Burch         

“Evolution’s a Fishy Business!”

1.
Breathing underwater through antiquated gills,
I’m running out of options. I need to find fresh Air,
to seek some higher Purpose. No porpoise, I despair
to swim among anemones’ pink frills.

2.
My fins will make fine flippers, if only I can walk,
a little out of kilter, safe to the nearest rock’s
sweet, unmolested shelter. Each eye must grow a stalk,
to take in this green land on which it gawks.

3.
No predators have made it here, so I need not adapt.
Sun-sluggish, full, lethargic—I’ll take such nice long naps!
The highest form of life, that’s me! (Quite apt
to lie here chortling, calling fishes saps.)

4.
I woke to find life teeming all around—
mammals, insects, reptiles, loathsome birds.
And now I cringe at every sight and sound.
The water’s looking good! I look Absurd.

5.
The moral of my story’s this: don’t leap
wherever grass is greener. Backwards creep.
And never burn your bridges, till you’re sure
leapfrogging friends secures your Sinecure.

Originally published by Lighten Up Online

***

To a Mouse
by Robert Burns

modern English translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Sleek, tiny, timorous, cowering beast,
why's such panic in your breast?
Why dash away, so quick, so rash,
in a frenzied flash
when I would be loath to pursue you
with a murderous plowstaff!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
has broken Nature's social union,
and justifies that bad opinion
which makes you startle,
when I'm your poor, earth-born companion
and fellow mortal!

I have no doubt you sometimes thieve;
What of it, friend? You too must live!
A random corn-ear in a shock's
a small behest; it-
'll give me a blessing to know such a loss;
I'll never miss it!

Your tiny house lies in a ruin,
its fragile walls wind-rent and strewn!
Now nothing's left to construct you a new one
of mosses green
since bleak December's winds, ensuing,
blow fast and keen!

You saw your fields laid bare and waste
with weary winter closing fast,
and cozy here, beneath the blast,
you thought to dwell,
till crash! the cruel iron ploughshare passed
straight through your cell!

That flimsy heap of leaves and stubble
had cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you're turned out, for all your trouble,
less house and hold,
to endure the winter's icy dribble
and hoarfrosts cold!

But mouse-friend, you are not alone
in proving foresight may be vain:
the best-laid schemes of Mice and Men
go oft awry,
and leave us only grief and pain,
for promised joy!

Still, friend, you're blessed compared with me!
Only present dangers make you flee:
But, ouch!, behind me I can see
grim prospects drear!
While forward-looking seers, we
humans guess and fear!

***

To a Louse
by Robert Burns
modern English translation by Michael R. Burch

Hey! Where're you going, you crawling hair-fly?
Your impudence protects you, barely;
I can only say that you swagger rarely
Over gauze and lace.
Though faith! I fear you dine but sparely
In such a place.

You ugly, creeping, blasted wonder,
Detested, shunned by both saint and sinner,
How dare you set your feet upon her—
So fine a lady!
Go somewhere else to seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Off! around some beggar's temple shamble:
There you may creep, and sprawl, and scramble,
With other kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Where horn nor bone never dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now hold you there! You're out of sight,
Below the folderols, snug and tight;
No, faith just yet! You'll not be right,
Till you've got on it:
The very topmost, towering height
Of miss's bonnet.

My word! right bold you root, contrary,
As plump and gray as any gooseberry.
Oh, for some rank, mercurial resin,
Or dread red poison;
I'd give you such a hearty dose, flea,
It'd dress your noggin!

I wouldn't be surprised to spy
You on some housewife's flannel tie:
Or maybe on some ragged boy's
Pale undervest;
But Miss's finest bonnet! Fie!
How dare you jest?

Oh Jenny, do not toss your head,
And lash your lovely braids abroad!
You hardly know what cursed speed
The creature's making!
Those winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice-taking!

O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions:
What airs in dress and carriage would leave us,
And even devotion!

Keywords/Tags: animal, animals, nature, limerick, limericks, doggerel, nonsense, humor, humorous, light verse

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