Children’s Poems part Two
From the book “Rhyme and Reason with Animals” by Craig Gosling
When it’s dark and there’s no moon,
about twelve hours since high noon,
that’s the time for a midnight snack
on a table set in black.
Dinner scurries by on padded feet,
mouse steaks and chops are ready to eat.
A little squeak is all that’s heard
but I know well what has occurred.
In the dark up in a tree,
at a table I cannot see
sits a creature with its meal
in a beak as strong as steel.
Mom tells me to chew my food,
eating fast is just too rude.
I use a knife to cut my meat
into pieces I finally eat.
But, this creature of the night
eats its meal in one big bite.
With a gulp the food goes down
with no noise or chewing sound.
Now, if I liked a rodent diet
like an owl, I might try it.
Or perhaps I’ll take Mom’s suggestion
and chew my food to help digestion.
Ever look a mosquito in her eyes?
Ever watch her bite some guys?
Ever scratch an itchy bite?
Ever been attacked at night?
Ever wondered why she’s here,
why her hum we often hear,
why she always seems so near,
why she is a beast to fear?
Want to know about this beast,
about her nasty urge to feast?
Why not look her in her eyes
and ask her if she knows just why
she is a danger to all mankind
every time she decides to dine?
If she actually answers back
with a bite, or wisecracks,
lift your hand and whack her hard.
Or, don’t venture out in your yard.
A little killer lives next to me,
and if you saw her you would agree,
that her tiny size is our good fortune,
or of her meal, we’d be a portion.
She lives alone without a friend.
The lives of neighbors, she tries to end,
and when a boyfriend dares to call,
she’ll wrap him in a silken ball.
In spite of her ferocity,
she has a gentle side to see.
Just watch her as she plays the role
of loving mother with one goal,
to give her babies a chance to suck
the juices from a victim’s gut!
Her favorite role is played with glee.
It’s giving bugs the death decree.
This she does with skill and grace,
and of pity, you’ll find not a trace.
The role she plays in nature’s web
not one creature could play instead.
Be glad that she’s your little neighbor,
and does us all a great big favor.
Without her help we couldn’t keep
insects from becoming…knee deep.
So, love and protect dear Mrs. Spider,
and be grateful, that you live beside her.
My Hammock Called Me
My hammock called me as I walked by with many chores to do,
like buying bread and milk and a can of stew.
My hammock did not have a voice or make a sound to hear.
Maybe that’s why I heard it so very loud and clear.
I felt compelled to change my course and schedule for the day
and to spend some time lying there in the breeze to sway.
Soon I was no longer me but just a backyard creature,
witness to the wondrous things that nature had to feature.
As I lay there quietly I saw the hidden world
of little creatures, which above my head did swirl.
And then a tiny spider floated by on its silken thread
looking for a place to live, she lit on me instead.
A bird above me in a tree sung a song I clearly heard,
and then upon my leg dropped a gift, a tiny little turd.
I saw another movement way up in a tree so high.
It was a tiny hummingbird against the endless sky.
There was some splashing in the stream several feet away.
I turned to see a fluffed up bird, a wet but happy jay.
Next I was distracted by a hit directly on my head,
from a leaf that floated down and was glorious red.
All around me I soon realized were silky webs so fine,
upon which tiny spiders waited for their dinnertime.
A little ladybug got lost on my hairy arm.
I let her stay a while ‘cause I knew she meant no harm.
As I drifted off to sleep swinging in the breeze,
I heard birds and insects calling from the trees.
For a while I peacefully slept as my distant kin had done
about a million years ago, under that very sun.
Finally when I awakened from my peaceful sleep,
I realized that my schedule, I really had to keep.
I had to run those errands, to buy some milk and bread
although I’d rather be there swinging in my hammock instead.
The octopus has eight arms but no legs.
It doesn’t have babies until it lays eggs.
It hasn’t a bone in its unusual body
which it can change from smooth to knobby.
It swims through the water like a jet plane
and squirts black ink when it complains.
The octopus has a sharp parrot-like beak
that crunches the food it catches and eats.
It has two big eyes in a large soft head
that could well be its body instead.
It has the ability to change its own color
from a bright red to something much duller.
The poor female octopus mates only once
then lays her eggs and guards them for months.
When babies hatch out their numbers are great.
Just count arms and divide by eight.
Alas their mom hasn’t much longer to live,
her life for her babies she just has to give.
But what if she lived to be eighty years old?
What special name would this animal hold?
In ocean or aquarium would you call her
an octopusarian octogenarian?
There’s another question I wonder about
that puzzles me so and gives me much doubt.
Are two of these creatures “octo puses or pie”
plural or singular, what’s your reply?
One more fact that you might want to know
It can shake eight hands when it says “Hello”.
Pachyderm means having thick skin
like a rhino, a hippo or one of their kin.
Pachyderm means you’re tough and resistant
to pests and bullies that may be persistent.
Pachyderm means an animal not sensitive.
And dainty and cute? It’s not representative.
Pachyderm means that nose length is relevant
and that the beast is most likely an elephant.
In spite of the fact that they’re big and they’re strong,
elephants are threatened and soon may be gone.
So, if you really love this magnificent beast
you’ll boycott the circus and shun ivory, at least.
The sun still warmed October days
before the start of winter grays.
The leaves were about to burst in color
and remaining flowers seemed no duller.
A little creature still came in search
of sugar water and plastic perch.
It’s ruby throat I did not see so
I could not tell if it’s he or she.
I didn’t know if it’s from the north
darting past and back and forth.
Or did it live here all the summer
and really is a local hummer?
I worried that autumn chills just might
freeze our hummer in the night.
It’s warmer in a southern state,
so ruby throat, please migrate.
And then of course in next year’s Spring
return once more on invisible wing
to hover again at plastic feeders,
find a mate, and be a breeder.
Can we learn from this little creature
that size need not be a vital feature?
Can we learn that it’s time to leave
when we’re threatened and deceived?
Can we find a warmer day
as we travel along our way?
If the hummer can do these things,
on invisible beating wings,
we can also learn to behave
like the hummer tiny and brave.
Summer would really be a bummer
without our feisty little hummer.
Sharing a Cow
Sharing a cow seems to make sense
because savings incurred could be immense.
Find a few friends and chip in together
for a nutritious and frugal endeavor.
Imagine the milk you could get from its udder
to drink by yourself or share with the others.
Fill up your cup fresh from the cow.
Don’t cool it off, drink it right now!
Add some chocolate if you don’t like the taste
‘cause throwing it away would just be a waste.
Milking a cow is not easy to do,
without a lesson you won’t have a clue.
So let me suggest that you find a good teacher
who will show you just how to milk this big creature.
You have to make sure your stream hits the pail;
you have to make sure you don’t get hit by its tail;
you have to know when to squeeze and to pull;
you have to make sure you don’t have a bull.
Sharing a cow, with your friends and neighbors,
takes lots of time and physical labor.
On top of it all you must prepare for the worst.
Unpasturized milk is as bad as a curse.
The disease it can give you will make you all wish
that you got all your protein, instead, from a fish.
You can always spot a leopard because it has so many spots.
On its back and head and tail there are lots and lots.
Spots are usually black on yellow over a belly white.
These facts are learned in school, they surely must be right.
But look again and you might see another kind of leopard;
the kind that lives in mountain snow, enemy of the shepherd.
This leopard is all white with spots just like its yellow cousin,
but it wears a cozy coat and long tail just to keep you puzzlin.
If you think you know it all, some advice I’ll give.
Leopards come in many styles depending on where they live.
So just when you’re sure you really know the facts,
take the time to look again just before you act.
Don’t believe that you know all there is to truth.
When you’re older you’ll know more than you did in youth.
People are much like leopards although they have no spots.
They all are a little different, but really not a lot.
By its shiny cover, you would not judge a book,
so you better not judge people just by how they look.
Pouched tiger of the night, your eyes no longer shine as bright
as they shone when you reigned as Tasmanian king so ordained.
The tiger stripes upon your back disguised your shape as you attacked.
Your awesome mouth so wide enabled crushing jaws inside.
Some call you wolf but by any name, you ruled the island of your fame.
Marsupial queen with stealthy crouch, you carried a cub inside your pouch.
Some say that you are gone forever, although I hope you were too clever
and still exist in hidden lair away from deadly human glare?
Do you still cling to bare existence in the face of man’s persistence?
Hidden by day in mountain retreat your Tasmanian heart may still beat.
But even if you’re just a dream and your eyes no longer gleam,
in my mind I see you lope down the forested mountain slope,
and out upon the grassy plain hunting “roos” with skilled disdain.
I know the children of my time will never see you in your prime but
perhaps this poem will help them remember that once you lived in regal splendor.
Tasmanian tiger, with awesome might, your fearsome eyes have lost their sight.
I regret that I didn’t see you running wild and being free.
The Chimera is a most horrible beast
that, given a chance, on your body would feast.
It would tear you to shreds and chomp on your brains,
and quickly devour what’s left of remains.
Its head is a lion; a serpent is its tail.
Its body’s a goat that’s certainly female.
The Chimera is a mixture of the three separate beasts,
the fanciful concoction of ancient Greek priests.
If you think you’re too smart to fall for these claims
and you don’t want to play superstition’s old games,
you better review other beliefs you’ve been told,
taken from books unreliable and old.
It’s far better to rely on things that are factual
than to swallow such claims of the supernatural.
Unless, of course, you’re too lazy to care
and don’t mind wandering…into the Chimera’s lair.
The goldfish has a most wonderful life
with few worries and little strife.
It didn’t vote in the last election.
It doesn’t worry about jury selection.
It doesn’t go to school each day.
It doesn’t have any taxes to pay.
It doesn’t have any credit card bills
or have to change filters in gills.
It doesn’t worry about global warming
or care when skies have storm clouds forming.
It doesn’t have to study for tests
or be concerned about unwelcome guests.
It doesn’t worry about heaven and hell
or about which stocks to sell.
Divorce is something it knows nothing of
because not once has it fallen in love.
Food floats down from who knows where.
For broccoli and spinach it does not care.
Cleaning its room and making its bed
are not tasks it has to dread.
The life of a goldfish, it’s simple to see,
is not to be envied by you and me.
Unless we don’t want to use our brains
and don’t mind being flushed down the drain.
For that’s what happens to those who exist
without motivation and the will to persist.
If you live in a little world made of glass,
the joys of living you will have to pass.
Don’t live in the little world inside a bowl
just like a goldfish without a goal.
Escape from that prison should be your first act;
broaden your view with reason and fact.
Plan for tomorrow, don’t get in a rut
just sitting around on your own butt.
Goldfish can float without moving a fin
or swim in a circle to where they had been.
If all that you want is nothing to do,
accepting the old and rejecting the new,
just grow some gills and a tail
and don’t complain about color and scales.
So, when at last you escape from your bowl
and a successful life is your new goal,
think of that little fish with nowhere to go,
nothing to learn and nothing to know.
The Pink Nose
His Daddy took him right outside
to the park onto a lawn so wide.
He asked his son to look around
for a little black hole in the grassy ground.
The hole was found and there soon appeared
a funny pink nose from the dark.
What was this thing that lived underground
in the neighborhood park?
Without a pause his dad reached down
and captured a little beast
that ran along its tunnels
and thought fat grubs were a feast.
At first it didn’t appear
the critter had any eyes.
But they really were there
so very tiny in size!
His Dad explained just why,
its eyes were so very small.
They hardly were needed simply because,
the funny pink nose did it all!
Walrus are big bumpy creatures,
whiskers and tusks are their main features.
They dive in the ocean searching for food,
and the way they eat seems sloppy and crude.
They crush up shellfish and suck out the meat
while holding their breath the same time they eat.
When they get tired and cold from the sea
they haul out on shore as neat as can be.
They sleep and they warm up under the sun
and roll over to make sure both sides get done.
When summer is over and winter winds blow,
the walrus swim north into the snow.
They live on the icepack floating around
and swim to the depths where shellfish are found.
Bulls fight over cows that they’ve gathered together.
The battles are furious and go on forever.
The lives of big bulls are noisy and defiant.
While cows and calves are much more compliant.
Although they are big and tough as can be,
they have some enemies, we all must agree.
Polar Bears swim out to hunt the icepack,
when they find walrus they usually attack.
The sick and the young are often the weakest,
and so their survival is usually the bleakest.
Walrus were once slaughtered by man
until laws were passed and most hunting was banned.
They survive to this day with gray bumpy skin,
long ivory tusks and a big whiskered chin.
I think that I shall never find
creatures as ugly as wild swine,
creatures that have tusks and warts,
creatures that squeal, whine and snort.
Wart hogs sleep down in a dirty hole;
I don’t think cleanliness is their goal.
Their diet includes about anything,
fresh food or not, without seasoning.
I must admit that it is apparent,
sows and boars are very good parents.
And again with me you must agree
that they reproduce with lust and glee.
So never mind if you think they’re ugly,
as you sit there so very smugly.
Just remember that in their eyes,
you’re just as ugly…likewise.
Where Have All the Froggies Gone?
Where have all the froggies gone?
Into extinction like the mastodon?
They’ll soon be gone from the pond,
from the stream and beyond.
Little froggies that call in the night
with all their heart and all their might.
Little froggies that have changed their form
from tiny tadpoles swimming in swarm,
along the banks and along the shore,
probably a thousand or maybe more.
So why have they left the night so quiet?
Was it the temperature, or lack of good diet?
Was it the pollution of the fresh water?
Was it our ignorance that caused the slaughter?
Or was it our greed that made us forget
that killing the frogs we soon would regret?
Why care about froggies that croak in the night
with all of their heart and all of their might?
They’re little creatures, slippery and wet,
not at all fun to cuddle and pet.
They eat up the bugs, mosquitoes and flies,
and even creatures almost their size.
They sing in the night out of control;
looking for love is their primary goal.
A strange little beast is our amphibian friend,
that into extinction is about to descend.
So, if we neglect the poor little frog,
it’s destined to become an epilogue.
Unless, of course, we all do what we can
to save this creature from civilized man.
Around a human campfire so very long ago
in the steaming jungle or in the falling snow
while the meat was cooking on the open fire
several shadows lurked, hungry with desire.
Perhaps they can steal a scrap of meat or bone,
or scavenge when the humans finally move their home.
So, they lingered through the day and night,
sometimes in hiding; sometimes in plain sight.
Then one night, without a moon, a saber tooth crept near.
It was one creature of the dark the huddled humans feared.
From the darkness around their camp they heard the lion growl.
Then just before the lion pounced there was a nearby howl.
From all sides around the cat, a pack of wolves descended
to help the frightened humans upon whom they now depended.
This action was repeated a dozen times or more
till the humans realized the benefits it bore.
A pack of wolves, or even one or two,
protected them at night and so the friendship grew.
Eventually a deal was struck many thousand years ago
that wolves and man would finally come to know.
There were some benefits of living close together
in a mutual relationship that would last forever.
Those wolves are now our dogs through evolutionary change.
They are our loyal companions wherever we may range.
So when your dog licks your hand and looks into your eyes,
remember those days long ago and our ancient ties.