top of page

Lead Babel Tongues of Animals to Choir[1]

All Fish in Flud and Fowl of Flight[2]

What one names Stupidly and Confusedly the Animal[3]

Animals with their Secret Songs – whereby they Converse[4]

She traces each thing from its Meager happenstance Beginnings in

Cool and slimy Marsh – to its great Glory and Dominance of Air or

Land or Sea – to its odd Remains entombed in mysterious Alluviums[5]

Upon what do the Fowls in the Air Meditate? Upon what do the Fish

In the Water Meditate? They Fly, they Swim – is Not that Enough?[6]

Beast and Bird have Seen and Heard that which Man Knoweth Not[7]

They construct a “Mistress of the Animals” in whose Con-

Trol they want to place their Deep and Ruthless feelings[8]

There is no Creature so much Below another but that

He may have it in his Power to Return a Good office[9]

If thy Heart were Right, then Every Creature would

Be a Mirror of Life and a Book of Holy Doctrine[10]


First the Big Bang – now the Cat Purrs[11]

We Joke with Hyænas – Returning their Stare[12]

O Lion – Sing the Human song of the Tooth and Soul[13]

Sheep and brown Cows Graze you Heart pocket – Antelope and Bison

Lap the great Lake of you Eye – and in you Ear the Black Bear winters[14]

A Tiger comes across a Donkey and having never seen a donkey before, Mistakes it for a God[15]

A Roan cold Grazes and lifts his head to Snort at Commotions in the Wind[16]

The Cattle have hitherto Grazed in a Peace Unbroken by Astonishment[17]

Loud Howls the Eternal Wolf! The Eternal Lion Lashes his Tail[18]

A Tiger does Not Proclaim its Tigritude – he Pounces[19]

Dogs Howl about how Misunderstood they are[20]


Fear the Secrecy of the Crocodiles[21]

Quivering are the Fishes on the Horizon[22]

Fish with Faces – who come out of the Sea cause Tsunamis[23]

A Whale’s Back Burdened with all the Passions of the Tides[24]

Alive without Breath, as Cold as Death – never Thirsty ever Drinking, all in Mail never Clinking[25]

If you can’t be a Muskie then just be a Bass – but the Liveliest Bass in the Lake![26]

In order to See a Fish you must Watch the Water … when the Fish

Swims, Water and Fish are the Fish – there is Nothing but Fish[27]

You’re such a Beautiful Fish Floppin’ on the summer sand look-

In’ for the Wave you Missed when another one is Close at hand[28]

Current-Borne, Wave-Flung, tugged hugely by the whole

Might of Ocean – the Jellyfish Drifts in the Tidal Abyss[29]

Hope Dawns with all its Dolphins[30]


The Gnat’s Supremacy is Large as thine[31]

A Fallen Flower Returning to the Branch? It’s a Butterfly[32]

Brilliant Wings with no History of Cramped Egg or Stifling Cocoon[33]

“Is it possible to become Friends with a Butterfly?” “It is if you first be-

Come a part of Nature – suppress your presence as a Human being, stay

Very Still, and convince yourself that you are a Tree or Grass or a Flower[34]

With Spiders I have Friendship made – and Watch’d them in their Sullen Trade[35]

Thou and the Worm are Brother-Kind, as Lowly, as Earthly, and as Blind[36]

Maggots are Gods – Butterflies are Flowers in perpetual Motion[37]

I am Speaking with a Worm – who is an Acquaintance of Mine[38]

A Fly on the Wall is enough Company for a Lifetime[39]

He dispenses Starlight to casual Moths[40]


Birds Sing the Sky into Place[41]

Hollow Beaks are Corridors of Song[42]

The Lusty Bird takes every Hour for Dawn[43]

Chestnut Brown Canary, Ruby-Throated Sparrow –

Sing a Song, don’t be Long, Thrill Me to the Marrow[44]

Robins wear their Feathery Fire – Whistling their Whims on a low Wire fence[45]

The merry Larke hir mattins Sings aloft, the Thrush Replyes, the Mavis descant Playes, the Ouzell

Shrills, the Ruddock Warbles soft – so goodly all agree, with sweet consent to this days Merriment[46]

Celestial Foulis in the air – Sing with your Nottis upon Hight[47]

Birds Fly into the Depths of our Existence[48]

The Dove Nests on a Crossbeam of Light[49]

Hey Bird – wanna Fly me Home?[50]


The Beaks of Birds are Cemented Shut[51]

Owls Missing Talons – certain Crucial Feathers[52]

In a Field beyond the Fence – there’s a Crow in a Cage[53]

Utter Silence in the Populous Bird-Haunted Branches around them[54]

The Two Breathless Gannets found Covered in Oil are not Unlike you[55]

The Birds are in Misery – I don’t think they Sing, they just Screech in Pain[56]

Birds with their Wings Clipped, Flightless Birds – Wrecked Angels[57]

I’ve found every Sparrow God has Forgotten to watch over[58]

The Petrified Birds sit in their Petrified Nests and

Hatch their Petrified Young from Petrified Eggs[59]

Morning Without a single Bird to Sing about it[60]


They’re Animals – so let them Lose their Souls[61]

The Breaking of yet another Animal Spirit Born to be Wild and Free[62]

Birds and Deer are a Silly Luxury and all the Fish should be Floating[63]

In the excess of their own Misery they are Callous to the Suffering of their Animals[64]

Crouching Tigers wait their Hapless Prey – and Savage Men more Murderous still than they[65]

The Stories of the Hunt will be tales of Glory until the Animals have their own Historians[66]

An Animal stands on Hind Legs – pretends to Understand why it must Die[67]

Kept Alive perhaps only as evidence of the Animal that Skulks Within[68]

The Animals, Hanging around in forms, are each Resigned to be

What each one is: Imprisoned Twice: in Flesh first – then Irons[69]

Lifespan: Dead – Habitat: Gone[70]


Our Stomachs – are Graveyards[71]

One Unversed in such matters can have no Notion of

The many Tragic things that can happen to a Chicken[72]

Healthier, Fitter, & more Productive: a Pig in a Cage on Anti-Biotics[73]

The Burnt Offerings are wholly Animals – and the Victims are wholly Consumed[74]

The Gratitude Bees receive is the Smoke that people use to Expel them to take their Honey[75]

The Meat, whether Cooked or Raw – keeps on making a Noise just as Cows do[76]

You have just Dined, and however Scrupulously the Slaughterhouse

Is Concealed in the Graceful Distance of Miles, there is Complicity[77]

With Bright Knives he releaseth my Soul – he maketh me to Hang

On Hooks in high places – he Converteth me to Lamb Cutlets[78]

Women Wear the Trauma of Other Creatures around

Their Necks in an attempt to put a Pall on their Own[79]

Empathy must be Limited to Herbivores[80]


John Muir said if it ever came to War between the

Races, he’d Side with the Bears – that Day has come[81]

You Throw me to the Crows – but it turns out I Prefer them to you[82]

The Birds have taken in upon themselves to Exclaim “Extraordinary,”

And the Word has taken Root in the Air, and been Inhaled by Mankind[83]

Birds are no longer a Mistake – but the Truth, the Only Truth of the World[84]

These Desert Birds Explain to him the meaning of Love without Ownership[85]

Beasts of every Land and Clime, hearken to my Joyful tidings of the Golden

Future time … Rings shall Vanish from our noses and the Harness from our

Back, Bit and Spur shall Rust for ever – Cruel Whips no more shall Crack[86]

A Cramped and Zoo-Born Animal Wakes one morning to find the door

To his Cage hanging quietly Open and the Savannah stretching grey and

Pink to the distant rising sun, while all around New sounds are Waking[87]

A Mouse is Miracle enough to Stagger Sextillions of Infidels[88]

Men are not so much the Keepers of Herds as Herds are

The Keepers of Men, the Former are so much the Freer[89]

Wolves shall Succeed for Teachers[90]


It’s Madness not to be Quadrupedal[91]

“Let’s Talk” – and I Bark and Growl[92]

See into the Future – when Dogs will become Men[93]

I’m Youth, I’m Joy – I’m a Little Bird Broken out of the Egg[94]

Do you Hear that Bird Warbling? That’s the Sound of your Entry into the World[95]

I’ll be a Wolf and you’ll be a Bear, and we’ll Bare our Claws, ‘cus that’s our Cross to Bear[96]

The Self is partly the Animal you’ve always Wanted to be[97]

Send us into the Swine – that we may Enter into them[98]

The Joy one takes in being Purely Animal[99]

We are Birds – Beak to Beak[100]

[1] Sylvia Plath, Wreath for a Bridal

[2] William Dunbar, On the Nativity of Christ

[3] Jacques Derrida tr. Gil Anidjar, Avowing – The Impossible

[4] Anonymous c.14thtr. original, Spring-Tide

[5] Jamaica Kincaid, Blackness

[6] D.T. Suzuki, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism

[7] Cecil Frances Alexander, The Burial of Moses

[8] Alexandra Grilikhes, On Women Artists

[9] James’s Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse

[10] Alan Watts, The Psychology of Acceptance

[11] Daniel M. Becker, Reading Middlebrow Cosmology

[12] Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark

[13] Paul Celan tr. Nikolai Popov & Heather McHugh, Coincidence staged, the signs all

[14] Donika Kelly, Out West

[15] Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of

[16] Wendell Berry, Window Poems

[17] George Eliot, Middlemarch

[18] William Blake, America: A Prophesy

[19] Wole Soyinka

[20] Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

[21] Federico García Lorca tr. Robert Bly, Rundown Church

[22] Dante Alighieri tr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Inferno

[23] Hayao Miyazaki, Ponyo

[24] Yukio Mishima tr. John Nathan, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

[25] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

[26] Douglas Malloch, Be the Best of Whatever You Are

[27] Bodhidharma, quoted in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

[28] Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Stupid Girl

[29] Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

[30] Odysseas Elytis tr. Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard, Anniversary

[31] Emily Dickinson,A Toad, Can Die of Light

[32] Arakida Moritake, quoted by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen

[33] Denise Levertov, Gods

[34] Haruki Murakami tr. Jay Rubin, 1Q84

[35] Lord Byron, The Prisoner of Chillon

[36] George Sewell, The Dying Man in His Garden

[37] Nicanor Parra tr. Miller Williams, Letters from the Poet Who Sleeps in a Chair

[38] Hans Christian Andersen, The Elfin-Hillock

[39] Dean Browne, Quiche

[40] F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

[41] Joy Harjo, For Keeps

[42] Rajiv Mohabir, Tattvamasi, You Are That

[43] Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Morte d’Arthur

[44] Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

[45] Sara Teasdale, There Will Come Soft Rains

[46] Edmund Spenser, Epithalamion

[47] William Dunbar, On the Nativity of Christ

[48] Tomas Jastrun tr. Michael March & Jaroslaw Anders, The Seed

[49] Irene Javors, Iona

[50] Sylvester Stallone, Rocky

[51] Marion Brimmn Rewey, In Exchange for Rights to Silence

[52] David Ryan, Reliquary

[53] Hamish Whyte, Little Sparta

[54] Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows

[55] Joanna Klink, The Old Vandals were Floods and Boats

[56] Werner Herzog

[57] Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

[58] Roger Reeves, Self-Portrait as Ernestine “Tiny” Davis

[59] Carl Sandburg, They Have Yarns

[60] C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

[61] Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather

[62] Bell Hooks, Appalachian Elegy 37

[63] Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

[64] Jack London, The Call of the Wild

[65] Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village

[66] Zimbabwean Proverb

[67] Warsan Shire, Joyride

[68] J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

[69] Alan Dugan, On Visiting Central Park Zoo

[70] Christina Olson, How to Care for Your American Mastadon

[71] Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

[72] Sherwood Anderson, The Egg

[73] Radiohead, Fitter Happier

[74] Erika Meitner, HolyMolyLand

[75] Swahili proverb

[76] Homer tr. Samuel Butler, The Odyssey

[77] Ralph Waldo Emerson

[78] Roger Waters, Sheep

[79] Sally Wen Mao, Nucleation

[80] Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

[81] Dave Foreman, Strategic Moneywrenching

[82] Madeline Miller, Circe

[83] E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

[84] Italo Calvino tr. William Weaver, The Origin of Birds

[85] Paulo Coelho tr. Alan R. Clarke, The Alchemist

[86] George Orwell, Animal Farm

[87] Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

[88] Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

[89] Henry David Thoreau, Walden

[90] John Milton, Paradise Lost

[91] H.G. Wells, The Land Ironclads

[92] Heather Bell, This Is How I Make My Money

[93] Virginia Woolf,Mrs. Dalloway

[94] J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

[95] Philip Kapleau, Zen: Merging of East and West

[96] The Daredevil Christopher Wright, The Animal of Choice

[97] Carl Phillips, Gold Leaf

[98] Mark 5:12 (King James)

[99] David Yezzi, Itchy

[100] Duoduo tr. Gregory Lee & John Cayley, Wishful Thinking Is the Master of Reality

bottom of page