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Per Diem Archive: J. Kacian January 2012, Animals

A Haiku Bestiary

All the poems chosen incorporate an animal; no birds, no insects, in this case, with the further goal of revealing something about the animal itself, and not just some anthropomorphized view of it.

Traditionally a bestiary will follow the alphabet, with one animal for each letter. Some can prove quite challenging, and we admit we cheated: the X animal, for instance, is oXen. Also, there are 31 days in January and only 26 letters in English, so some letters make more than one appearance. We hope the result will not only entertain you and reveal some excellent poems that you may or may not be aware of, but also stimulate discussion and consideration of animal being, and our relationship to it.

Author: Shimi (Mark Brooks)
heat lightning
an armadillo skitters
into a ditch
Author: Jack Galmitz
Inside of me
Bison are stampeding
Across caves
Author: Bill Pauly
chimpanzees whisper:
they're just
like us
Author: John Barlow
the donkey foal’s world a field in flood
Author: an'ya
ice moon—
an elk touches its tongue
to the salt lick
Author: Kilmeny Niland
the flying fox forever
folds into night
Author: Marlene Mountain
autumn afternoon
where the epileptic fell
a fresh groundhog den
Author: Michael McClintock
The hyena:
outside of night—
Author: Keith Coleman
cracking horns—
the woodcutter’s axe
Author: Norberto de la Torre González
With lines of light
the sun invents jaguars
in the gardens.
Author: Andrew Lansdown
new rain . . .
the odour of kangaroos
from the hollow
Author: Amita Chatterji
The air spotted by
a speeding leopard.
Author: John Wills
behind the mink
the moon has come
to pieces
Author: H. Gene Murtha
morning sun—
fish scales glisten
in the otter scat
Author: Grant D. Savage
porcupine grooming
not a threat
out of place
Author: David Coomler
A rat falls
into the water jar—
the cold night
Author: Deb Baker
skunk’s stripe
first moments
of darkness
Author: Peggy Aylsworth
A tiger
suburban streets
Author: Martina Heinisch
a vole
in the watering can
again cloudless
Author: Robert F. Mainone
a new world of snow . . .
stitching it all together
tracks of a weasel
Author: David Lloyd
Even in this snow,
the sound of the wolverine
is a bright red shriek.
Author: Ross Figgins
free of the plow
the oxen move to the barn
side by side
Author: Bruce H. Feingold
a yak grazes
on winter stubble—
Everest’s shadow
Author: George Swede
Among the striped shadows
of his cage—
the zebra
Author: Burnell Lippy
the twists
in old coyote shit
Autumn wind
Author: Christopher Herold
up to its eyes
in weightlessness
Author: Martin Lucas
cool autumn
the slow grazing of a horse
in a field of horses
Author: Ruth M. Yarrow
a marmot’s whistle
pierces the mountain—
first star
Author: Chad Lee Robinson
firelit cave—
the sketch of a buffalo herd
starts to move
Author: David G. Lanoue
sniffing his dump
delicately . . .
Author: Theo. LeSieg
the hemming fence
must be magic too . . .
captive unicorn
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