Animals

BIRD TAKING FLIGHT
A slow cold rain beats down; the sky is gray
And icy drops beset the budded spray
Whereon he swings, a small undaunted form,
Sure in the void and careless of the storm.

All unafraid he breasts the boundless air,
Content to know that Love upholds him there.

CATS
I have always
Thought that cats
Were contrived for
Catching rats.

Now I know that
Cats wear silk,
Swallow tea instead of milk.

Tell long tales
But never wear ‘em;
Use their claws and
Never spare ‘em.

Cats have roughed and
powdered features,
Purring, spiteful little creatures!

CROW ON FENCE POST
A raucous voice in shining black,
With rainbow gleams along his back,
He sits upon a fence-post there,
Bold, self-sufficient, debonair,
Quite sure that just to be a crow
Is highest blessing here below.

I pass him with a greeting gay,
And deeply musing go my way;
For much I wish that all might be
As happy in their lot as he,
Content in feathers ebon-dyed,
And with his crow-ship satisfied!

Published in the National Humane Review, November 1935

CAGED MONKEY
Small burlesque of humanity,
It is no joke that you must be
Imprisoned in this slatted tomb,
With scarcely tail – or elbow room.
You who, when tropic nights were calm,
Slept safely sheltered in a palm,
Or clambered up to meet the stars,
Must languish here behind the bars;
And lap your drink and eat your dole
While boredom numbs your simian soul:
And life, which should be wanton, gay,
Wears ever duller, day by day,
Until its piteous early end.
I’m sorry for you, little friend.

RETURNING BIRD
Back from the South she came eagerly
winging,
Glad of the tang in the cool northern air;
Weary, quiescent, unready for singing,
Gently she sways on our willow tree there.

Happy to cease from her windy careening
(Cleaving the cloud with a resolute breast),
Now she sits gratefully peering and preening,
Sign of the springtime and symbol of rest.

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