A wonderful triolet to the beautiful and unique Panamanian gold frog by Jill Townsend- sadly, this frog is probably extinct. It has not been seen in the wild since 2007.
To the Panamanian Gold Frog
You gesture with a little wave
to see off any new arrival –
other male frogs as brave
as you, who gesture with a wave.
But now the situation’s grave:
a fungus threatens your survival.
Your gesture with a little wave
may not see off this new arrival.
© Jill Townsend
From Alan Nicholls, a message to an ant!
you bit my ankle,
your half-back bit my calf.
So when I squash you dead,
you bug! Excuse me if I laugh.
© Alan Nicholls
This message, or, to be more precise, ignored message poem is from Lisa Lopresti of Bristol:
Open the Gate
The young chimpanzee,
Looking at his cousins in desperate disbelief.
The young human humans,
Laughing in delight at the use of sign language.
Mankind’s communication skills,
Now used and understood by other branches of apes.
The outcome ignored.
Trapped in a Zoo with nowhere to go.
The intelligence knows freedom is a goal.
Open the gate he signs,
Open the gate he signs,
The observers uncomprehendingly sign this back.
Understand me he signs,
Understand me he signs –
Frantic with sadness.
© Lisa Lopresti
This poem from Heather F. Reid is a message from an assistance dog, a subject very close to my heart!
Request from a Guide Dog
If we should meet,
please don’t tempt me with treats
or excite me
or jiggle my ears.
Don’t invite me to play
or put things in my way,
I’ve been training for this day
Don’t stand firm in my route
and shout ‘ISN’T HE CUTE!’
Don’t encourage your dog to say hi.
Though it’s tempting to pat me
you’ll only distract me
so, please, carry on, pass me by.
© Heather F Reid
And more from Heather:
Letters of Apology
Dear black and white cat who I chased up a tree,
why did you hiss at me so viciously?
I didn’t intend to upset you that way,
I hoped we’d be friends and you’d hang out and play.
Well, when I say play, I mean I chase, you run,
because, isn’t that how dogs and cats should have fun?
You’re furry and purry, so, please cat, descend
Your trustworthy Labrador friend
Your letter was gladly received
as it’s been half a day since I fled up this tree.
Forgive my poor manners, I misunderstood,
I assumed your intention was harm and not good
when you bounded towards me, all bark and sharp teeth;
you were just being friendly? Well that’s a relief!
I’m afraid being chased isn’t really my scene
but if you would like to call round for some cream
and a doze in the sunshine I’m sure I’d like that.
Your neighbourly black and white cat
© Heather F Reid
And here is one from poet Pie Corbett:
Message for the Mosquito who shares my bedroom.
I’m fed up
with the way
you keep me awake.
till I’ve just turned out the light
and settled down
for a good night’s zizz
before starting up
your irritating whine,
is out for a bite.’
At any second
I expect to feel you
puncture my skin
and suck my blood.
I am not your personal
If I find you’ve settled nearby,
I’ll swat you flat.
Be warned –
sauce of blood.
© Pie Corbett
Here are two from poet Bernard Young:
To The Great Provider
Dear Great Provider,
This is to thank you
for the delicious cheese
you so thoughtfully provide.
(and I do hope this doesn’t seem ungrateful)
would it be possible to place it
by the side of our hole
and not on the spikes
of the thing that snaps
when we take a bite?
That would be most helpful.
It’s just that,
as you may or may not know,
a member of my family
(my precious daughter to be precise)
has not returned from dining out
and we fear her disappearance
may have something to do
with the fierce snappy thing.
It doesn’t like mice!
(This is not a criticism.
We would sooner pull out our own whiskers
than question your unquestionable wisdom.
We know you move in mysterious ways.)
Once again, Great Provider,
thank you for the wonderful cheese.
Yours humbly and appreciatively,
© Bernard Young
A plea from a seal by Paige Elizabeth Turner:
I bleat a plea to the world
as Antarctica awakens from the slumber of winter solstice.
Sun’s rays stretch across the bleached panorama
and paint orange the peaks of polar mountains, once determined as earth’s limit.
Science has since dispelled ancient explorers’ charts;
there is no ‘end of the earth’.
I despair the fortunes of this season.
The flat sea sheds its blanket as icy shores host huddling penguins in communal congregation.
The thrill of brill seduces hunger to their shoal, sustaining summer’s sanguine seals.
Blizzards long swept away, bequeath azure canopy o’er frozen pole
as upon the horizon glints the Mechanical Marine Mammal.
Summer spawns continuous light.
The mating season conjures satellite colonies where I charm my selected harem of seven.
I farewell them to the water’s edge, as I laze and incubate the gift of consummation.
I fret as the Mechanical Marine Mammal ploughs closer to my shores.
Seasons mirror seasons as history repeats.
Never will I eradicate memories of my family’s bloodshed in the reddened waters of nature’s sanctuary.
I am helpless.
No-one will protect me, though many voices try.
Human kindness falters to nature’s slaughter.
A further thousand seals cry, whimper, and gasp their final breath –
their fate sealed by the sealers’ spears.
© Paige Elizabeth Turner 2016