Animal Poems

crows

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i wrote most of these poems just after observing a particular animal, bird or insect. but sometimes, an animal would come to mind and i would just write something down. they are written in the direct japanese zen style, but not keeping to the restrictions of the haiku 5-7-5 syllable format, which i felt restrictive. i have written many over the years, but have just listed a few here. I will add more as they come up.

i dedicate these simple poems to all those in the animal realm.

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 1

Dawn

dusk

two wonderful gifts

that stare us in the face every day

unnoticed by my cats

their only interest being breakfast and supper

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 2

While people gaze admiringly at the exotic birds

I gaze at the sparrow

there is nothing dull about you my friend

what a beautiful song you sing

---

3

The blackbird watches the cat

the cat watches the blackbird

a great samurai standoff

who will make the first move

---

4

An early may morning

light just breaking

a chill in the air

the birds outside are chirping

I hear their message to me

don't worry

the sun is coming

the sun is coming

---

5

I am not sure who values my monks robes more

me or the moths

---

 6

Hello mr pigeon

starring at me through the kitchen window

I like to think you come looking for friendship

but in my heart

I know that food is all that is on your mind

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7

There is a snail in the garden

that acts like he owns the place

---

8

The crow on the roof

has been chattering away for 20 minutes

but I still haven't the foggiest idea what he is on about

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 9

Dawn breaks

stepping into the garden I bow and say good morning to a snail

in his own way he returns the complement

a thrush looks on in disgust

---

10

I see that the house martins are back again

busy building their nests

I have lived here for 17 years

but I am sure they don't remember me

---

11

Seagulls circling above my head

looking very busy

but they have no plans

---

12

luckily the butterfly on the orange blossom

does not know how beautiful he is

as he would be impossible to live with

---

13

The poor fox

no enemies until mankind turned up

now his beautiful red coat is just a target

---

14

They shout out

save the whale

save the dolphin

they cry out kill and eat the tuna

kill and eat the salmon

I don't understand

---

15

The dragonfly

using the floating leaf as a raft

how clever

---

16

Geese flying overhead

what a joy

I hear their voices

---

17

When I was young

I used to hear the cuckoo in the mornings

now I never hear him

has he gone away or have I

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18

All the insects in the world

when I am still

I can hear them crying

---

19

Travelling on the early morning train

we pass by the river

glancing out of the window I spot a lone heron

standing serenely in the mist

---

20

I know that my youth will never return

but still I live in hope

that I will again hear the sound of the cuckoo

---

 21

As the cat sits on my lap

a flee jumps on to my arm

that's ok my friend

you can live on me

---

22

A shadow darts here

a shadow darts there

be quick or you'll miss it

a hungry bat at dusk

---

23

When you see a fly

please do not kill it

look close

it is beautiful

---

24

Careful how you tread on those fallen leaves

as little lives may dwell below

---

25

Birds just fly

fish just swim

insects just crawl

it all seems so easy

---

26

 I used to think that I owned three cats

but I am beginning to think that they own me

---

27

I step outside to hear the dawn chorus

but the mornings are now darker

and all is silent

just a lone hedgehog

drinking water from the saucer

---

28

On these dark mornings

the birds stay asleep

it's easier to dream of breakfast

than to search for it

---

29

Perched on the overhanging branch

the kingfisher looks half asleep

don't be fooled mr fishy

---

30

Each time the orca kills

he knows that he needs to for survival

but each time he does

he sheds a tear

for the fate of his fellow creatures

---

31

An old pond

not a frog in sight

no sound

---

 32

As much as I love to hear the sound of the distant pheasent

my advice to him is

keep your head down and don't make a sound

---

33

A flock of starlings in the garden

I thought they were making quite a racket

until I listened closer

and realised that they were chanting the heart sutra

---

34

Ah the early morning coal tit

what a pleasent mantra he chirps

in between mouthfuls of seed

---

35

The pigeons of boudhnath

gobbling up the offerings of food

no interest in the dharma here

---

36

I hear that some of those in the animal realm

are close to extinction

how wonderful that they may soon be free

of this world of suffering

---

37

The hedgehogs are back after their long sleep

spilling the water from their saucers all over the patio

they still don't seem to have grasped

the concept of table manners

---

38

The dawn chorus

catch us if you can the birds mockingly sing

to the half awake felines

---

39

A warm summer evening

strolling in Ensenada

the sound of cicadas

---

40

Robes hanging out to dry

now decorated with pigeon poo

that's ok

---

41

Is that a cuckoo I hear

no

sadly just a distant memory

---

42

hey mr lobster

don't be fooled by the fishermans smile

it's the smile of death

---

43

I require a smart tie

demands the office worker

thus the silkworm is boiled to death

his silken clothes removed

how cruel the human race

---

44

To the top of the kitchen window

a snail has climbed

I'm sure he could climb mount everest

if he put his mind to it

---

45

3.30am a cold dark morning

I step outside to bow to the moon

an owl offers a twit

I offer back a twoo

---

46

The stray dogs of darjeeling

barking all night

keeping folk awake

they sleep all day

undisturbed by my yawns

---

47

A moth enters my room

basking in the scent of the incense

help yourself my friend

There is no charge

---

48

As the weather gets warmer

I see the bees are back

still buzzing around

still trapped in the life/death cycle

---

49

As the sun rises

the dove commences his un hurried day

as the sun sets

he retires quietly to his place of rest

surely there is a lesson here for all of us

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50

In the spring mornings

the birds chirp louder than ever

awake awake they say

awake to reality

everything changes

nothing stays the same

--- 

51

No need for the caterpillar to rush

he has no mortgage to pay

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52

What seems like a gentle fall of snowflakes to us

is a veritable avalanche to the tiny ladybird

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53

The art of being a blackbird

friendly but wary

very wise

--- 

54

Today I spotted a wren

he seemed so small

yet for a brief moment

he was big enough

to fill my entire mind

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55

The flock of starlings zoom in on the food 

consuming everything greedily like vultures

the lone blackbird just looks on

if there is any food left, he will eat

if not, at least he still has his dignity

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56

After drinking his fill of water

the hedgehog knocks over the saucer and leaves

thus answering another koan

such wisdom

---

57

I see a large black bird high up in a tree

I am not sure if he is a crow or a rook

it's no good asking him

he lives in a world free of names and labels

he doesn't even know that he is in a tree

---

58

Sitting in the sun

reading a book of Chinese poems

a blackbird lands nearby

I smile and say good morning

he did a poo and flew off

---

59

As I watch a robin rip a worm apart

and greedily devour it

I wonder if this is the same cute fellow

I see illustrated on many christmas cards

---

60 

At 5am this morning

there was a snail by the kitchen door

by 2pm he had moved about nine inches

what's the rush?

---

61

Row upon row of pigsties

it reminds me of auschwitz

only death awaits the residents

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62

The pond so muddy and murky

even the moon will not reflect in it

but the frogs love it

croaking away happily

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63

A flock of geese fly overhed

the sound of their cries and their wings on the wind

touch my heart

I wish I could go with them

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