2013 Poetry Theme Challenges

#12 Animal Madness

I am changing the format of theme challenge to give writers as much flexibility as I can. The theme will be as broad as I can possibly make it. I will include a few prompts to help kick start the muse or just for fun.

So lets play



Eyes aloft, over dangerous places,
The children follow the butterflies,
And, in the sweat of their upturned faces,
Slash with a net at the empty skies.

So it goes they fall amid brambles,
And sting their toes on the nettle-tops,
Till, after a thousand scratches and scrambles,
They wipe their brows and the hunting stops.

Then to quiet them comes their father
And stills the riot of pain and grief,
Saying, "Little ones, go and gather
Out of my garden a cabbage-leaf.

"You will find on it whorls and clots of
Dull grey eggs that, properly fed,
Turn, by way of the worm, to lots of
Glorious butterflies raised from the dead."

"Heaven is beautiful, Earth is ugly,"
The three-dimensioned preacher saith;
So we must not look where the snail and the slug lie
For Psyche's birth. . . . And that is our death!

Rudyard Kipling

Animal Madness

Terry Clitheroe

Believe in Dragons
Memories of Swans
The Sparrow
Three Blind Mice

Divena Collins

Byrdes of a Feather
Cross Eyed Possum
Dragonfly Night
Lady Penelope's Rose
Most Purrfect Cat
Prince Amidst Frogs
Ravens Call
Sanctuary For Old Asses
Rodregus Mouse

Peter Willowdown

Lizzie Lizard
Odd-yssey - A Lions Journey
Scatterdemalion Rex

Terry and Divena

Broken Wing
Little Bird

Willow and Maryse

Where art thou now, my little frog

Terry Clitheroe

Believe In Dragons

Believe in dragons, so that they may live again.
The time is ripe now that we may live a fantasy
Cannot fantasy and life be both the same?

Cannot we believe and see what we want to see
For dragons lore was part of what used to be.
The time is ripe now that we may live a fantasy

See amid our deepest dreams the bluest sea.
Lording over land and sea, the golden gentle beast
For dragons lore was part of what used to be.

Knightly lore was blackest deed and evil feast
Magic helped the reigned lord to gain his power.
Lording over land and sea, the golden gentle beast

But blackest deed and wicked trick did overthrow
Which caused this wondrous beast to hide till now
Magic helped the reigned lord to gain his power.

Believe in them. Believe so they may grow
Which caused this wondrous beast to hide till now
Believe in dragons, so that they may live again.
Cannot fantasy and life be both the same.


Memories of Swans

It seems to be my new favourite place
I watch the swans gathering to leave.
I thought all swans were the same,
Then I remembered where I was, the USA.
Nothing is the same especially the climate
And the swans must fly south to survive
Because all too soon there will be a storm
And then there will be no food to live.

I remember six months ago in another place
Watching swans swim around so regally
Ignoring winters onset, there would be no snow
No lack of food, no need for her to fly away.
She still took on a thicker coat for warmth
Because where she lives it still gets cold,
But in a few months all will have changed
And again we’ll see beauty to behold.


The Sparrow

Everyone thinks they know you
You tell me your troubles and your pains
But you also tell me things of beauty
You are a woman of beauty and strength
And when I am in need of help
You cry with me and then help me
Sometimes you make me laugh
Sometimes you make me sad
Occasionally you arouse me.

I have seen a different side of you
Hidden beneath the steels
A fragile side a loving side
But insecure and feeling
I have seen you cry, for me
And cry when I've told, a simple tale
Told as tales are told no more.

It's this side I've seen
That reminds me of a little sparrow
That's flown in through an open door
Wings flapping flying around
Frightened, seeking love
Seeking direction.
I try to help and pick you up
I want to be the one
Who will guide you to the window!


Three Blind Mice

Three blind mice, three blind mice
Is that three, or six blind mice?
Or does the poet stutter?
We will assume that there are six,
Two packs of three blind mice.

See how they run, see how they run.
Further evidence that there are two packs.
A blind mouse infestation!!
Call the sanitary department!!
But wait one moment!!!

How can, blind mice run?
Have they all got little white sticks?
Or are they running in a stick of four,
With a sighted rodent in front,
All with the right paw of the mouse in front?

They all chased after the farmers wife
Have the little white sticks got IFF Radar,
(Identification Friend or Foe)?
No wonder they are blind,
The radiation from the Radar cooked their eye's
She cut off their tails with a carving knife

These mice are blind, they have little white sticks.
What kind of woman is this who would mutilate sightless creatures?
This can hardly be classed as pharmacological research
Or is this some form of French Cuisine?

Have you ever seen such a thing in your life?
I don't think I want to,
That type of voyeurism is sickening
Akin to bull fighting.
Should be banned.

Three blind mice.
It turns out that its code name
For an investigation by FBI agents
The farmer's wife is a very high profile person
Carrying out symbolic castration of her husband.

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Divena Collins

Byrdes Of A Feather - Early English Redondilla

'Twas inn thee merrie munth off Maye
Wen thee starlinge bylte she a neste
Her made itt fyne wyth strawe and haye
Verrie tyred but she dunne her best.

Her layde a bach off fyne spekl'd egges
Wyle her cheste puff'd upp wyth pryde
Downe cum a maggepies stocky legges
Ande hee stompe'd she too one syde.

Shee twitter'd lowde too calle her mayte
Her bein harrass'd 'n dyre turmente
Butt hee didd linger suche was fayte
Myster maggepie he beene and went.

A sparrow hawke hadd chased he off
'Fore thee maggepie doo more dammage
She didd twitter ande her didd scoff
"Too late mayte 'cos I didd mannage."


Cross Eyed Possum

I am a cross eyed Possum
Dont know which way to go
I cant look to the left
Nor can I look unto right
Most times I am bereft.

I am a cross eyed Possum
And I come from ozzy land
All I do to come and go
Is sniff the way I came
It's the best path I know.

I am a cross eyed Possum
Odd to thee I may be
But tho'I came this far
I know you think I am
Much Stranger than you are.

I am a cross eyed Possum
The only one of my kind
When I go to ozzy land
Back home I do belong
To those who understand.


The Dragonfly Knight

Here shalt the dragonfly rest
Where not a raven shall digest
Safely within the castles keep.

Cast aside by the sword of man
Ne'er was included within plan
For a hurt dragonfly shall weep.

For he was not without feeling
When a lance sent him reeling
Safely within the castles keep.

A prisoner now he shall reside
Forever he shall be cast aside
But a hurt dragonfly shall weep.

His pride goeth before his fall
Yet now the bravest of them all
Safely within the castles keep.


Lady Penelope's Rose

Lady Penelope from Castletown tower
Lay with her lordship 'neath the bower
Within thorns O' yon wild tangled rose.

Little had she known how he suffered
His outlook had somewhat differed
How can this be in the midst of prose.

Lady Penelope had helped as she would
But only if she had known how she could
Seek such a remedy beneath ones nose.

A hedgehog then had come ambling by
It could be the answer she can but try
By now his Lordship was over exposed.

Lady Penelope had thought of a plan
Maybe she could now make him a man
So oblivious he was at what had arose.

'Begone hedgehog you are much too late
Its not what it seems I dont need a mate
These thorns otherwise shall decompose.'
Lady Penelope from Castletown tower
Lay with her lordship beneath a bower
Who plucked her a wild tangled rose.


Most Purrfect Cat

Within lazy hazy summer days
May be just a passing phase
Who knows when it may rain.

Sunny days taken for granted
Is not what stature wanted
But then again nor was rain.

Animals shall suffer the most
Might as well give up the host
Just to relieve them with rain.

Cats and dogs with not a patch
Of a furry coat left to scratch
Welcome the thought of rain.

Takes refuge upon a cosy chair
Who but she shall not despair
For the strays left in the rain.


Prince Amidst Frogs

Come kiss me fair maid I am a frog
For we are both here for a reason
It is stated within the nursery log
This is the day I turn into a prince
I know it is correct for the season
But I have never seen anyone since
That is not until you had come along
I thought it was only fair you knew
It is with me that you shall belong
Shall it be you my chosen princess
Even if you were only one of a few
For all I need is two lips to impress.
Come kiss me fair maid I am a frog
For all I need is two lips to impress.


The Ravens Call

Spirits arise the raven calls
From the depth of darkness
Within thy shroud of death
Tis time to leave thy tomb
Of earths pungent breath.

Spirits arise the raven calls
Tread the path of lost souls
Come manifest thy presence
Nigh unto the mists of time
That shalt offer no defence.

Spirits arise the raven calls
Like previous times before
Death shall not mean the end
Souls once lost shall return
And life shall then transcend.

Spirits arise the raven calls
The voice of all things dark
Who sees all and hears much
Thro' power of insight
Of life after death as such


Sanctuary For Old Asses

Old age can be such a bind
For animals and for mankind
Oh where, where be my glasses
For I cannot find my old asses.

They were all there yesterday
I know they'd never run away,
I could hear them all haw hee
Without my glasses I cant see.

If I was younger and them too,
Maybe we would have a clue,
Their not in the field out yonder
Fence be broken, they may wander

Tinker travellers hitched up camp
I think I saw a bright lit lamp,
Without glasses and my poor sight
Maybe it only just be moonlight.

A younger person I do wish I be
Whether I should be a her or a he
Them tinker lads, and their lasses
They been and stole my old asses.

So hear ye now wherever ye be
I hope you'r running wild and free
Kick them tinkers butts real good
'Fore y'all end up as tinkers food.


Rodregus Mouse

If I was hurt bad and in pain
Drenched in a shower of rain
If I was bitten sore by a beast
Totally ignored by my best friend
Would you help me out to defend
Or even be sorry to say the least.

If the shoe was on the wrong foot
You know that I wouldnt ever scoot
But offer you my most humble hand
In case you would trip on your laces
And end up having to wear braces
I shall comfort you where you land.

When ever I takes a run and jump
On my head swells a great big lump
Why oh why must it be this way
The cat's waiting around the bend
I know its not his love he sends
Upon my whiskers it's not my day.

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Peter Willowdown

Lizzie Lizard

Lizzie Lizard was so busy
she tied herself into a knot.
Tarnation! she cried unto the skies,
now my wings are tangled
and I'll have to ask Timothy Tumble
to unwrap me; I don't mind being unwrought
but he always tries to tickle me...
one day he will go too far
and I'll snap and involuntarilly
flick out my tongue and swallow him,
follow him, swallow him,
I'll snap and damn well swallow him!

And of course one day this is exactly what happenned.
Fatuous Timothy's father Toby saw it happen
and rushed over soberly (fortunately it was a Tuesday
- any other day he would have been quite drunk).
Seizing Lizzie he flung her onto his extra large trouser-press
and proceeded to squeeze and steam her.

Lizzie opened her mouth in surprize,
though in less than half a minute she felt
quite loose and relaxed, like a pair of silky slacks.
Her tongue leapt out so swiftly it gave Timothy
something akin to a slight elecric shock
and he almost accidently swallowed HER...
but gulped and out she shot of Timothy's mouth,
doing almost 80 k.p.h.
He was finally stopped by a large cobweb
stretched across the Appalachians
and it took him four days to make his way back.
Once he was reunited with his father
Toby released Lizzie from the trouser-press and
apologised for his unusual treatment.

"Not at all," said Lizzie, "I'm sure your
motives were honourable
and actually, I found the sensation rather pleasent."
The very next day she bought her own new deluxe trouser press
and installed it in her lobby, next to the old bookcase
full of notes and manuels on her previous hobbies.
Trouser presses soon became all the rage
amongst her wide circle of friends
- where it will end I can't imagine
the woods are full of lizards and butterflies ramrod straight and stiff
with elegent creases and smart turn-ups,

looking like nothing so much as mult-coloured Egyptian hieroglyphs.

(Once Timothy had finally cleared himself of lingering cobwebs
Toby had given him a long and detailed talking too
and threatened to post him to Edinburgh Zoo
if he didn't get his act together.
Although he often saw Lizzie passing he tended to actively avoid her
and it was actually a good two months before he had occasion to
speak to her - but that's another story!)


Odd-yssey - A Lions Journey

Always a cock-eyed optimist
Clarence the cross-eyed Lion
(not without a nervous spasm)
decided to set out fot Mount Zion
in search of Holy Tablets,
across the South Pacific
and other locations less specific.
In Xanadu he lost a shoe
and learned how to chew Chinese tera (gunpowder)
without costly sugar and milk,
how to milk silk worms (it gave him a turn);
he enjoyed the taste (dark brown or green)
but it stained his teeth
like nicotine or quarantine
- even Kublai Khan looked at him somewhat askance
across his vast abdominal expanse
but Clarence explained it was perfectly natural
for lions far from home
deprived from their usual comfort zone,
even beneath a pleasure dome
of such profound and august plenitude.
Holly Johnson had a similar experience
in most parts of America
and had to resort to large amounts of cocaine
which although it may have enhanced his reputation
wasn't much good for his brain.
Kublai Clarence roared his distress
(looking quite fabulous in a bright orange dress,
swishing his tail to relieve his travail
though in his gaudy nepalese waistcuit he looke quite subversive
and Khan had him exiled to Moscow
to study Nietszche and Kahil Gibran
whilst peeling sultanas for the Lords of Iran,
a quite unnecessesary task
as they were perfectly happy to peel themselves...
Under pale browed alchemists he sipped the mercury
from thermometers and musclemen from Marrakesh
kicked magical sand in his face
until he received a delicate complexion: a rare education
that side of Mount Atlas and not to be found in the west
these turbulent and frostbitten days.

One day Clarence, perusing a rare old papyrus
discovered he had in fact been a vegetarian for years
(and celebrated by eating 17 archichokes
and several dozen asparagus, developing Asparagus syndrome in the process
but thats another story).
Ah, he lived a pampered live in Russia
but longed for his native pampus,
dressed in extra large Pampas and diamond studded diapers
although it was still best not to get downwind of him,
especially on Tuesdays and Fridays
when the Imperial cooks served up tureens of tapioca
with stewed prunes and rasperry fool.

After several misdeamnors
he was put in the public stocks
but when the stocks fell dramatically on Black Sunday
Kublai Khan released him and granted him his freedom
which Clarence celebrated by playing Bert Weedon for seven
consecutive days whilst sailing away on a slow boat to Cleethorpes.
Perhaps he took a wrong turn at the Cape of Good Hope
for he came ashore at Marseilles and spent a pleasant day with
a lady named Edith before travelling on to Corsica
to have dinner with Napoleon.
In a fit of sonambulistic petulance he boarded the night- ship for Africa
and walked in circles for almost seven months,
occasionally joined by Prester John, Richard the Lionheart
and various heretical monks.
Recognising a familiar stench far out to sea he skirted the ruins of Atlantis but then
on April the first met an ancient, large bicepted Rastafarian named Charles
who lectured him on obscure philosophy
and introduced him to a local dentist who pulled
two teeth that had been trobling him for weeks,
swelling his cheeks and making him roar
even louder than usual.
Charles then took him to meet the great sages Ali Seltzer and Rum Tum Tigger
who tickled his tum and played his rough zither.
A mere three weeks later all four of them approached the foothills
of Mount Zion (Napolean and Richard had long since fallen away)
and to the best of my knowlege
they are all still there today,
listening to Ziggy Marley and having a wild party.
If you stumble quietly in the twlight
you might just hear their learned discussion
or savour the repercussions of Clarences
still indelicate stomach
- thouh his strabismus is cured (behind his dark shades)
as he licks metaphysical wounds
and a Stawberry and Pineapple Lyon's Maid Mivvi,
contemplating the more favourable vagaries of feet
and the William Morris wallpaper of the New Jerusalem.


Scatterdemalion Rex

Scatterdemalion Rex in his scaled vermillion vest:
a catacylmic comet took one look at him
and decided to fall further west,
demolishing Atlantis before it even got started.
When Rex and Barry Brontosaurus decided to go to the circus
they took a wrong turning at Piccadilly
and ended up at Banbury cross.
"Wasn't this the place where Lady Godiva..."
began Scatterdemalion.
"I'm afraid not," said Barry, "you're thinking of Coventry;
but there's a Tricerotops named Larry who likes to write graffiti
on the large Lycopodium ferns, a neat trick
seeing as how Rome hasn't even been builded yet...
He fancied himself as a bit of a poet
but I find him rather passe.
I much prefer Kilroy the pre-Divuvian Kangaroo from Pangeia
(despite his constant diahorrhea).
I once shared a house with him in Exeter
but I've since heard he moved to Gondwanaland
and leased a suburb of it called Lemuria
where (not surprisingly) he opened a college
for big-headed Lemurs.
Nobody has seen him since but I did hear that his cousin,
Vinnie the Velociraptor one day invented the helicopter:
he always was precocious - although Mary Poppins thought him a brat
and once called him a fragileostrichexpialiatrocious.
I didnt know it at the time but he's had cards printed
that names him Dick Van Dylke but the genuine chimney sweep heard about it
and ran him down on his peasouped up bike, full-throttle.
Barry and Marcus, will you stop dancing up and down on my stomach,
you're giving me a headache
(I keep it there wrapped up in a vest, I find it for the best).
"Dracula on the Landing!" calls out Barry
but I am always wary of his annoucements
which tend to be not only tedious but inaccurate.
If anyone survives the coming Ice Age I hope
to hell it isn't Barry.
Dave the Diplodocus and Peter Ptereodactyl says he has insurance
but they're both Deadheads anyway and
swear he's really Jerry Garcia.

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Terry and Divena

Broken Wing

Each morn' I'd heard her song
I found her with a broken wing
And I heard her song no more
Silence greeted me that morn
I found her broken on the floor.

Each morn' I'd heard her song
A lovely sound silenced by pain
Lying quietly, dying to soar
Would she ever sing again
I worried she looks done for.

Each morn' I'd heard her song
I loved, cared, again she flew
No longer heights she’ll soar
As she flies her song is new
No longer broken on the floor.

Each morn' now I hear her song
A song of gratitude and love
Now grateful of the gift of flight
When not feeding she's in the air
Returning to her home at night.


Little Bird

I think I found your bird
She sings in heaven free
So sweet as she did before
Her wing no longer broken
She shall soar for evermore.

I think I found your bird
Her beauty haunts the sky
Within spiritual freedom
She returns to her destiny
Therein a forest kingdom.

I think I found your bird
Her pain shall no longer be
She who has strength anew
Has the gift of eternal life
To remain strong and true.

I think I found your bird
And thus I shall reveal
My spirit remains free
It's time I think to tell
Your little bird was me.

Angel of Birds - Franz Dvorak

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Willow and Maryse

Where art thou now, my little frog

Where art thou now, my little frog
that sat so nicely on the log
in the corner of my room
and croaked protectively when candle-lit
ghosts sought to invade my nocturnal privacy?
Where art thou now, Jack in the Box
with your emerald green locks
and lurid day-glo smocks
obviously designed by a thai-dye hippy
named Rainbow or Zippy?
Where art thou Dad who read me stories every night
And who recited poetry
Who'd sit and watch clouds snowy white
Drift by, who’d point out every blooming poui?
Where art thou Grandpa who would sing
Your own words to a modern song
Until we all were giggling ...
Those memories are lasting, strong.

Here we are, here we are,
why can't you see us, you half asleep thing.
Soon sonn it will be time to dance and sing again
and all old friends will be re-united
- I'm already quite excited by all the sweets and cakes Grandma is baking
and there's even a marshmallow tart
for finicky frog!

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