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Famous Animal Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Animal poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous animal poems. These examples illustrate what a famous animal poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Wilmot, John
...own share
What sort of flesh and blood I pleased to wear,
I'd be a dog, a monkey, or a bear,
Or anything but that vain animal,
Who is so proud of being rational.

His senses are too gross; and he'll contrive
A sixth, to contradict the other five;
And before certain instinct will prefer
Reason, which fifty times for one does err.
Reason, an ignis fatuus of the mind,
Which leaving light of nature, sense, behind,
Pathless and dangerous wand'ring ways it takes,
Through E...Read more of this...

by Browning, Robert
...ive, made to supervise 
And feel the force it has, may view itself, 
And so be happy." Man might live at first 
The animal life: but is there nothing more? 
In due time, let him critically learn 
How he lives; and, the more he gets to know 
Of his own life's adaptabilities, 
The more joy-giving will his life become. 
Thus man, who hath this quality, is best. 

But thou, king, hadst more reasonably said: 
Let progress end at once,--man make no step 
Beyond the natu...Read more of this...

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
...n treaties and defied the law.
And all these ruthless acts the Nation knew and saw.

Man is the only animal that kills
Just for the wanton love of slaughter; spills
The blood of lesser things to see it flow; 
Lures like a friend, to murder like a foe
The trusting bird and beast; and, coward like, 
Deals covert blows he dare not boldly strike.
The brutes have finer souls, and only slay
When torn by hunger's pangs, or when to fear a prey.

VIII....Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...ieved to pass odors to the brain] 
18[the West Wind] 
20[able to pick up a scent] 
21[having the odor of an animal] 
24[honey was thought to have medicinal properties] 
25[Animals slightly below humans on the chain of being] 
28[i.e., on the chain of being between angels and animals]...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...nd possess'd
falleth in blind surrender; and finding therewithal
in fullest devotion the full reconcilement
betwixt his animal and spiritual desires,
such welcome hour of bliss standeth for certain pledge
of happiness perdurable: and coud he sustain
this great enthusiasm, then the unbounded promise
would keep fulfilment; since the marriage of true minds
is thatt once fabled garden, amidst of which was set
the single Tree that bore such med'cinable fruit
that if man ate thereo...Read more of this...

by Ginsberg, Allen
...cking and rolling over lofty 
 incantations which in the yellow morning were 
 stanzas of gibberish, 
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht 
 & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable 
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for 
 an egg, 
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot 
 for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks 
 fell on their heads every day for the next decade, 
who cut their wrists three times successivel...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...s of the bidders, they cannot be high enough for it; 
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years, without one animal or plant; 
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll’d. 

In this head the all-baffling brain;
In it and below it, the makings of heroes. 

Examine these limbs, red, black, or white—they are so cunning in tendon and nerve; 
They shall be stript, that you may see them. 

Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition, 
Flakes of...Read more of this...

by Levine, Philip
...from darkness into sunlight 
so fierce the sweat streams down 
into my eyes. I did not rise. 
A wind or a stray animal or a group 
of kids dragged me to the side 
of the road and turned me over 
so that my open eyes could flood heaven. 
My clothes went skittering down 
the road without me, ballooning 
out into any shape, giddy 
with release. My coins, my rings, 
the keys to my house shattered 
like ice and fell into the mountain 
thorns and grasses, little bri...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
Splitting like quartz into a million bits.

O jewel! O valuable!
That night the moon
Dragged its blood bag, sick
Up over the harbor lights.
And then grew normal,
Hard and apart and white.
The scale-sheen on the sand scared me to death.
We kept picking up handfuls, loving it,
Working it like dough, a mulatto body,
The silk grits.
A dog picked up your doggy husband. He went on.

Now I am silent, hate
Up to my neck,
Thick, thick.
I do no...Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William
...than one
Who sought the thing he loved.  For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.—I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colors and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, not any inter...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...from Cadmean teeth, 
For these I thought my dream would show to me, 
But girls, Hetairai, curious in their art, 
Hired animalisms, vile as those that made 
The mulberry-faced Dictator's orgies worse 
Than aught they fable of the quiet Gods. 
And hands they mixt, and yell'd and round me drove 
In narrowing circles till I yell'd again 
Half-suffocated, and sprang up, and saw -- 
Was it the first beam of my latest day?

"Then, then, from utter gloom stood out the 
The breas...Read more of this...

by Milton, John work of body or mind 
Appointed, which declares his dignity, 
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways; 
While other animals unactive range, 
And of their doings God takes no account. 
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east 
With first approach of light, we must be risen, 
And at our pleasant labour, to reform 
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, 
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, 
That mock our scant manuring, and require 
More hands than ours to ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit, 
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, 
To vital spirits aspire, to animal, 
To intellectual; give both life and sense, 
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul 
Reason receives, and reason is her being, 
Discursive, or intuitive; discourse 
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours, 
Differing but in degree, of kind the same. 
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good 
If I refuse not, but convert, as you 
To proper su...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever -
I can no longer distinguish
Who is an animal, who a person, and how long
The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers,
The chinking of the thurible,
Tracks from somewhere into nowhere
And, staring me in the face
And threatening me with swift annihilation,
An enormous star.


Weeks fly lightly by. Even so,
I cannot understand what has arisen,
How, my so...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...h you the infinite, solemn lessons of

In another, woods, plants, Vegetation shall be illustrated—in another Animals, animal life
 and development. 

One stately house shall be the Music House; 
Others for other Arts—Learning, the Sciences, shall all be here; 
None shall be slighted—none but shall here be honor’d, help’d, exampled.

This, this and these, America, shall be your Pyramids and Obelisks, 
Your Alexandrian Pharos, gardens of Babylon, 
Your temp...Read more of this...

by Sexton, Anne
...over and over
and baptised the prodigals.
It spoke the unspeakable,
as the rain will on an attic roof,
letting the animal join its soul
as we kneeled before a miracle--
forgetting its knife.

The daisies confer
in the old-married kitchen
papered with blue and green chefs
who call out pies, cookies, yummy,
at the charcoal and cigarette smoke
they wear like a yellowy salve.
The daisies absorb it all--
the twenty-five-year-old sanctioned love
(If one could call such...Read more of this...

by Yeats, William Butler>
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet.
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has ta...Read more of this...

by Eluard, Paul
...nd the wise men are absurd 

VI. A wolf 

Day surprises me and night scares me 
haunts me and winter follows me 
An animal walking on the snow has placed 
Its paws in the sand or in the mud 

Its paws have traveled 
From further afar than my own steps 
On a path where death 
Has the imprints of life 

VII. A flawless fire 

The threat under the red sky 
Came from below -- jaws 
And scales and links 
Of a slippery, heavy chain 

Life was spread about generously 
So tha...Read more of this...

by Pastan, Linda
...Into the gravity of my life,
the serious ceremonies
of polish and paper
and pen, has come

this manic animal
whose innocent disruptions
make nonsense
of my old simplicities--

as if I needed him
to prove again that after
all the careful planning,
anything can happen....Read more of this...

by Bukowski, Charles
...g and, at times, acts of
but all in all it is a mass, a glob that doesn't
have too much.
it is like a large animal deep in sleep and
almost nothing can awaken it.
when activated it's best at brutality,
selfishness, unjust judgments, murder. 
what can we do with it, this Humanity? 
avoid the thing as much as possible.
treat it as you would anything poisonous, vicious
and mindless.
but be careful. it has enacted laws to protect
itse...Read more of this...

Dont forget to view our wonderful member Animal poems.

Book: Reflection on the Important Things