April PAD Challenge: Day 4

Hope you’re having a good weekend!

For today’s prompt, I want you to pick an animal; make that animal the title of your poem; then, write a poem. You could be very general with your animal title (“Bees” or “Lion”) or specific (“Flipper” or “Lassie”). You could even be very silly with something like “Tony, the Tiger,” I guess (that tiger on the cereal box).

Here’s my attempt for the day:


Would you know my name
if found out of water? I hold
my breath for hours and sing
across the spaces where I dream.
Would you believe I was ever
vulnerable? I find the part
you love most is the monster
lurking in me, that unknown
quantity hiding beneath
the surface. If I could swallow
you whole and hold you within,
would you call out my name?

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1,095 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 4

  1. JL Smither


    At first, I think it’s a ripped tire
    tread, left along the highway
    after some terrifying blow-out,
    semi-trucks careening past
    as the driver swings desperately
    toward the shoulder,
    rubber remnants neglected
    in the adrenaline rush of survival.
    But as I drive up closer, the tire
    looks organic. I see the feet,
    the tapering tale,
    and the wreck where the head
    should have been.
    No one to clean it up
    on Alligator Alley.

  2. Kelly Ellis

    Snake: Jungian Analysis

    I told my analyst about my dream
    that I had sex with a snake.

    It wasn’t an anaconda
    or a little green garter–

    It was a respectable snake,
    say, the size of a rattler,

    And I wan’t thrilled or repulsed
    just cerebrally aware

    that there was something unusual
    going on down there.

    (What was I wearing?
    A three piece suit.

    And don’t talk tongues to me;
    that point is moot.)

    So what
    would Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell do?

    The sex was shamanic; it just wasn’t orgasmic;
    all the while I was wondering,

    did I take out the trash, and did I have
    a meeting in the morning?

    My analyst was stymied and let-down, too;
    despite all his talent, I’m flunking enlightenment.

    And as for the snake, he’s not to blame—
    Why no, I never caught his name.

  3. LindaTK

    Day 4:
    Fancy Rat (Alphabet Poem)

    A total love
    Handsome boy
    I adore him
    Jumps up to kiss me
    Kisses my neck
    Loves me
    Never bites
    Owns my heart
    Pleasure to know
    Totally precious
    Unusually friendly
    Very happy
    White fur
    X – cited by life
    Yes, I love him!

  4. Claudia Marie Clemente

    **************************************(revised version)*************


    Even the Romans thought you a myth;
    they imagined you nesting in the far East –
    preening peacefully one thousand years
    in hanging gardens, only to return West
    to the desert- Heliopolis- when you sought renewal.
    And, at the end of your flight, you landed in flares
    and fire bursts – scattering blood-red and gold
    plumes among your own glowing embers –
    until, in mystic re-fusion – you reassembled
    from gray ashes into eternal,pulsing color.

    Now, I have always believed the Romans
    didn’t take their own stories literally,
    bouncing their little Livias on their knees,
    I thought they discerned legend from truth, all the same,

    until now, when in the darkest of months
    I have left home – sneaking through the lush garden –
    to fly West to the desert, back through time
    zones, over land and ocean and various states;
    descending, I press my nose against the window
    to take in the dull earth studded by cacti
    and rocky hills circling the valley,
    and then land, exhausted, and finally
    close this long day in Sun City – that’s paradise,
    they say, life extending , even –

    I sleep, and then, late the next morning –
    our big star hot and high – nervously gripping
    the wheel I crane and reverse, leaving the palm oasis,
    as I head towards the center, to You.

    And it happens: there you are in the flesh –
    all lit up in the afternoon sun on a bench before a fountain.
    You- who have had me wait almost half my lifetime-
    dissolve the fatigue of my full day flight and today’s hours
    when you reach your open palm and massage the space
    between my shoulders as if no time has ever passed,
    as if this moment were the source
    and end and continuum of all moments.
    And I face you, brushing aside my auburn hair
    illuminated in this light to flaming gold.

    And later, in your home, before we part
    I explore your space and bound up a helix of stairs
    that leads to an empty loft, and pace the bare room.
    I can’t see you, below, but you call up softly:
    that room is yours, a nest for when you are ready.
    And then it finally dawns. You and I,
    and our story that has spanned an epoch,
    – still happening now – find renewed
    fire of life in what the Romans couldn’t say,
    literally: the phoenix is no myth.


  5. Lissa


    The pup & I pair
    at four or five.
    Early to have a world of our own.

    We turn onto Wilton
    and are both thinking the same.
    Me, dreaming of cakes.
    He, dreaming of the cat
    whose spine echoes the elliptical line of the streetlight.

    Farther along,
    where the houses stretch even farther away from the street.
    Humidity sits at my hairline.

    Birds wake to coach us.
    A lone van alerts us
    to the upcoming possibilities of traffic.
    Again I think of bakeries
    and we both give thought to a chase.

    Trees suffering years of canine abuse
    are represented
    by a curbside avenger with hearty roots.
    And maybe even the sidewalk itself,
    which appears deceptively sturdy
    at its see-saw angle.

    It delights in launching one or both of our bodies,
    when we forget the pattern of concrete.
    But under the half-moon eye,
    today we find six-legged balance.

  6. Merddyn Aladar


    She’s a dragon,
    Strong and serene,
    Keeps her distance
    Watching over me.
    Has a cold breath
    turning things to ice
    When I look
    She’s gone.

    Yet also a wolf,
    friendly and loving,
    Keeps following me
    Wherever I go.
    Whenever I sleep
    She keeps me company
    When I look
    she’s there.

    She is the same,
    in either case
    Friendly and distant
    Distant yet near
    Yet always I wonder
    Which one she is
    The distant dragon
    Or the loyal wolf?

  7. Linda H.


    The problem with you
    is that you want to shape me
    like a boy forms modelling clay,
    like an artists chisels a sculpture,
    like a baker kneads his dough,
    step by step
    until the intended outcome
    is achieved.

    The problem with me
    is that I still care enough
    about you to bend,
    like the branches of
    a weeping willow in a
    wind storm, just one step
    away from breaking in
    the storm of your hands.

  8. Amanda Caldwell

    Walrus and Beluga

    Incongruous that you would smile at us
    through your grimy windows at the zoo.
    Improbable that you mean it,
    but I can’t help but interpret it so.
    Or maybe it’s the polite and desperate masking
    of a hostage bent on escape,
    smiling with your lips
    so the captors won’t see,
    while your eyes scream

  9. K.E. Ogden

    K.E. Ogden
    April 4, 2009
    Prompt: Animal


    Dear Bobo,

    you are stupid, and I love you.
    I love to watch you dance.
    Stamp your feet, Bobo. Whistle
    then wiggle your breast. How
    I have missed you! Will you
    lift each foot, tilt your head back,
    and sing my name?

  10. Ivy Merwine


    A hollow boned hopper when on the ground.
    A light graceful glider when in the air.
    Pecking for food with beak when on the earth.
    Looking down and riding air currents when above the land.
    Hard to catch when on the earth.
    An easy target in the sky.
    A sneaky cat’s dinner.
    A pampered pet.
    A lovely chirping song resonates from the small body.
    A call to take to the sky.
    Gravity can’t keep a grasp on it.

  11. Bernadette McComish

    Great White Shark

    into White Death’s
    mouth, let teeth serrate skin,
    till all that’s left is thick
    fringe, dented bone
    and bloody water. To be so unloved,
    swallowed skull and soul
    by unboned cartilage and curious black
    eyes. Initial pain
    would be brief, glorious,
    and worth the sacrifice.

  12. Stacey Cornwell


    Oh, elder turtle
    Deep inside your shell
    What secrets do you hide?

    Possessing a soft body inside
    And a hard impenetrable shell out
    To protect you from all harm

    Whatever turn of evolution
    That gave you that advantage
    Was truly looking out for you

    So long a life you have
    To live even longer than humans
    Oh the wisdom you must hold

    If only we could speak
    The language that you know
    And learn all of your secrets

  13. R. SANTER

    RCA Victor Dog’s First Day on the Job
    (for Nipper)

    The sky was a cloudless slate, slippery
    for the sparking. I sniffed at the stale
    perfume of a living room’s worn upholstery

    and barely recognized my polished claws.
    Two men in suits lifted me atop a mahogany
    cabinet. Melody scratched its way

    through a gramophone luring
    my ear to its mouth. But I heard
    howlings invented in ancestral forests

    and that night dreamt of blood
    on brother tongues. How did I get
    to peddling music? No meat

    in beast of burden. No wind in master’s voice.

  14. Lytton Bell


    My legs dangle; I circle you by day
    frenzied at the aroma of hot meat
    I dive in close; my stinger aches toward prey
    Your soda pop fizzes in summer heat

    What I love best dear is the easy way
    pain flares in your eyes when my stinger sweet-
    ly penetrates you and you scream and bray
    raising your hand to kill as soon as greet

    me, but now quickly ascending away
    I spiral back to savor your defeat
    to gloat, to menace, make you pay and pay
    Incognito, I crawl next to your seat

    I wait for your touch; again I sting you
    What goodness did your arrogance bring you?

  15. Daunette Lemard-Reid


    The size of a teacup
    With reddish brown eyes
    A cute little black nose
    Brown and beige fur
    This cute little puppy
    A must have for me


  16. Virginia Shank


    I’ve dated a drummer already, so I know
    it wouldn’t work out, but I like to think
    we’d have some fun—me leading you leashed
    on that old chain, and later forgetting everything
    I ever knew about feminist theory as you chase me
    screaming WOMAN WOMAN down the street.
    But I know how soon you’d be banging a different
    drum and the wild pink hair would get to me.
    I’d tell you to clean your whiskers
    from the bathroom sink, wouldn’t let you
    chase the waitress, would tell you to put down
    those goddamned cymbals—just once, let’s have
    a quiet evening. And rather than lecture me
    about your inner child, your free spirit,
    your needs, you’d yell AAAGH and smash
    through my wall, leaving an exact Animal
    shape to remember you by. I’d stand
    framed by that hole and wish all my breakups
    were so clearly cut, light streaming in
    through the perfect outline of your absence.

  17. PriscillaAnne Tennant Herrington


    You need a pet
    my children told me,
    thinking I am lonely
    living alone
    and them too busy to visit.
    Get a dog they said.
    You’ll meet new friends
    out walking your dogs.
    They cannot possibly
    think I want to meet people
    who walk dogs.
    It’s too much trouble
    I tell them, the walking,
    having to put it in a kennel
    whenever I go away,
    meaning more responsibility
    than I want in retirement.

    You need a pet
    my children told me
    and so I acquired a cat,
    Sprocket, a large cat,
    alpha male for all
    he was neutered young.
    Sprocket is an older cat
    who moves ponderously
    when he moves at all.
    I’ve never seen him chase
    a mouse, never found
    a carcass on the floor,
    yet the field mice no longer
    invade my kitchen
    and for this I am grateful.

    ©Priscilla Anne Tennant Herrington

  18. Peter Danbury


    I have them leaping at the end of a poem
    about my family of origin, to embody
    the energy in a round of laughter
    around a table at a Chinese restaurant.
    Real restaurant and memory, I think,
    though extreme elaboration, at the least,
    was of course in order, and served.
    Bare memories being such bare-bones affairs.
    Chinese restaurant, Dad almost chokes; turns out
    to be a super-hot pepper; I laugh; I’m seven or eight or so.

    Did all of us laugh? I can’t even say that
    for sure. But in the poem, certainly,
    “laughter / leapt from us all like / gazelles, like steam."
    And there the skinny poem, ten years old now, stops, lines
    broken to assist, I hoped, in the leaping.
    In that memory there are, or were, no tears
    in Dad’s eyes. Nothing about onions
    or Mom’s depression. No fear in the air
    held us, then released us. Or if it did,
    in that wisp of a thing, it was all in me,
    like the laughter. But in the poem, its present tense,
    as in my despair to recall, Dad’s tears are real,
    and so is the fear, and it’s general,
    and so is the relief.

    It was weeks after his funeral–or months; it’s so hazy–
    more than a year ago now, anyway, that I learned
    from my brother of our father’s breaking down
    at the news of his mother’s death,
    when he got the call at his office,
    where my brother happened to be. Later, Dad had told me,
    more than once, how ashamed he was that he hadn’t cried
    about his mother’s death. At least that’s what
    I remember him saying, but perhaps he had said,
    “at my mother’s funeral.” Or perhaps his failure
    on that public occasion was shame enough for him
    and amounted to the same. In the poem, which held
    and still holds something for me, I have my father
    as a man of his generation, who had some trouble
    with emotion, whose tears, in fact, came only
    from onions and choking and the like. I was mistaken
    about that, among other details. Just how much,
    I can’t know. But I do recall plenty of laughter,
    much of it from all of us at once,
    leaping out from all of us at once, if not then
    then other times, many other times. Leaping,

  19. Eben Atwater


    As I sit typing, she is patting my arm
    with her paw. Her throaty purr
    fills the quiet room, eyes
    yellow green, big as an owl’s.
    When we first met, eleven years ago
    her Siamese mom brayed,
    her dorky orange tabby brother
    gamboled, and she sat, big eyed
    and too cool for the people.
    Now in her eighties people-year-wise
    she looks at me with love
    and purrs all the louder.
    She is still kittenish from time to time
    flopping on her side and showing off
    her fine gray belly fur;
    I have tied Rim Chung’s RS2 trout fly
    with that fur for fishing the Guadalupe.
    She is stuffed between recliner and couch section,
    hard against my leg with her chin resting on my laptop.
    When I first met Monica, Moose challenged her
    as alpha female. Eleven years later, she grudgingly
    acknowledges Monique as materfamilias.
    I will miss her terribly when her time comes.

  20. Michael Roy

    Canadian Goose

    Oh it is great being a goose
    Able to fly high to warmer spots
    We fly in groups to keep company
    But we will stay together with a specific one

    Oh it is great being a goose
    When we are on the ground we baste in the sun
    We eat anytime we want
    And swim every morning just for fun

    Oh it is great being a goose
    Cars stop as we walk across the street
    People pay us no mind
    for if they get to close
    we will get them from behind

  21. Vince Gotera


    My friend Janine has a tiny terra cotta
    serpent made of arches, loops of red
    fire-hardened clay. When you set up

    the curves in a row, a line on an obsid-
    ian table-top, let’s say, or any other
    shiny surface, water-like, what you get

    is an illusion, mirage, fantasy — a dotted
    stitch sewn by your eyes: four small arcs,
    at one end (rising) the head of a velociraptor,

    at the other (diving) the tail of a rattlesnake.
    On this coffee table of dark stone, a mirror
    clouded by years of creosote mist, Loch

    Ness breached by mesozoic shimmer,
    coils of a beast that should have been long dead.
    St. George, England’s patron . . . it was him or

    this monster, devil-vermilion-scaled ophid-
    ian champion. Chalk one up for good Sir George.
    Or is this Quetzalcoatl? Feathered god

    dipping in and out of clouds, a large
    pterodactyl-winged, emerald-eyed
    messiah. Or Poseidon’s messenger, the huge

    sea-snake sent to devour Andromeda,
    killed by Perseus, conquistador of the Gorgon.
    Whose hair was made of small snakes, dread-

    locks each exactly like these curls of auburn.
    The sea-dwelling Orc the hippogriff-riding
    Ruggiero bested to save Angelica. The Kraken.

    The Basilisk. The Wyrm. Treasure-heaping
    Wyvern: Grendel’s cousin, Beowulf’s fate.
    Geryon, snake with scorpion tail, winging

    Dante downward into abyss. Bahamut.
    The Giant Anaconda. Ouroboros.
    Dragon, dragon, dragon. But no, it’s not

    like that. It’s just a little hocus-pocus,
    a parlor trick. Just a sea serpent
    of brick-red, kiln-fired curlicues.

    And yet, she must also be a Titan
    somehow. Somewhere inside the terra cotta
    smoulders a small flame of a Leviathan.


  22. Jean Lutz

    PLEASE NOTE: This is a re-post with title change only. I failed to read the instructions the first time. Sorry, Robert. The poem is based on Proverbs 6:6 and Proverbs 30:25

    Behold the Ant

    God himself used the lowly ant
    As the example for those who think they can’t
    Together ants build colonies and homes in sand
    Not merely waiting for a man or plan

    Ants form armies, some search for food
    No matter the job, each has something to do
    They work to store plenty of food in summer
    Preparing ahead for the long winter to follow

    To live in harmony, ants must communicate
    Not in words, but by touch with their antennae
    The ant has learned to work with sister and brother
    Not passing on the burden to another

  23. Raven Zu

    Kitties first rainshower

    Kittens rush out to play
    Stop in wonder and surprise
    Water is falling from the sky!
    Out they go into this strange new world.
    Every step wets the paws
    Every step shake the paw
    Slow progress, but none retreat.

  24. Maureen Hurley

    A Fifth of Beethoven

    Yesterday I told my students a story
    about Gustavo’s crazy cockatiel,
    how Kirk the musicman tried to teach it
    the opening to Beethoven’s Fifth
    & how it couldn’t get that last chord right,
    no matter how much they both practiced,
    how the note always fell flat, but the bird
    would say entonces, or coño, and include
    all the tape recorder clicks & whirrs.

    Every time I went: DA-DA DAA Dum,
    Mo, the class bird catcalled and wolf whistled,
    dirty danced on his perch, bopped his head,
    puffed out his orange cheek patches,
    and crested like a Mohican. I was
    explaining how some words fall flat,
    the poet’s job to seek the music of words,
    was a matter of practice, like doing scales.
    Unfortunately, the bird got so worked up
    he catcalled the entire poetry hour.

    I was hoping he’d just take the Fifth
    (or maybe down a fifth) and shut up
    before I threatened to squeeze
    his sorry yellow ass into a tequila sunrise.

  25. Maureen Hurley


    Through a crack in the window,
    the northerly wind hisses like a snake,
    it coils around us with its icy grip.
    Papers fly off the desk like a snow flurry.
    Poems scatter and undulate like waves.
    How far can we go? The sky’s the limit.
    The key to unlock celestial padlocks of the mind.

    * * *

    A third grader who
    couldn’t remember my name
    wrote on her folder,
    Poetry with Merlin.
    Who could argue with that?

  26. Sonia L. Russell

    Woodpeckers Woes

    Awakening upon my bed
    A morning sound fills my head
    Tap tap tap tap with such great care
    Against the tree outside

    There has to be many a pest
    Decided to make a nest
    And unknowingly become fare
    For one breakfast espied

    Such a long sharp and pointed beak
    Finds this beauty what he seeks
    Working hard in the morning air
    Haughty chest puffed with pride

    If I could just appreciate
    Why this creature won’t dine late
    And stay the morn inside his lair
    Bliss if he only tried

    Woodpecker, peck in someone else’s tree!

  27. Erin Sway


    To say that man is animal
    is an injustice to the animal kingdom.
    To compare man to the grace of a deer
    of the strength of an elephant
    or the majesty of a soaring eagle
    is an exaggeration.
    While animals try only to survive
    we demand to thrive
    and that desire to continue our existence
    leads to
    and a whole host of other traits foreign
    to the four-legged world.
    In may ways, their way of life is the more peaceful
    ours, the more savage.
    If we take some lessons from our natural neighbors,
    in time, we might earn the name: animal.

  28. Mandy Shorb


    I am mystical and believed not real,
    However I belong in those that have beauty,
    In the deepest part of their dreams,
    I am part of those who are innocent,
    Believe in love,
    Believe in a better future,
    Believe that beauty is within
    And not just on the outside,
    I am pure white looking like a regular horse,
    With the exception of a single pointed horn on my head,
    I am believed to not be real,
    But I am real in the hearts of those,
    Who are pure of heart,
    Pure of spirit,
    Pure of mind,
    Pure of love,
    And I stand there beside them,
    Through all those times of good and bad,
    Reminding them that there is beauty,
    Beauty in everything they touch.

  29. H. Marable

    Killer Bunny

    I awoke in the middle of the night
    to a hopping sound. I see it outside, standing
    on its hind legs, leaning front paws against
    the patio door, poised to attack through glass.
    It’s the size of an infant,
    but a monster thing, a vicious beast,
    a killer bunny, with funny feet,
    a fluffy tail and floppy ears,
    a shy little grin; my eyes are in tears.
    Cute bunny nose, vibrating to my heart beat,
    Its rear paws are scratching the concrete.
    Strange, I hear it humming “Hey Jude,”
    Its eyes have a take-no-prisoners attitude.
    It was only a nightmare, I insist,
    But I have terrified my Therapist.

  30. Laura Kayne


    He collects dragons,
    Stuffed, plastic, ceramic and metal,
    On display and standing guard.
    Tails curled and claws sharp,
    Bejewelleed eyes sparkling,
    Furry scales warm to the touch.

    Purple, grey, white,
    And three in red,
    Large, medium and small,
    All perfect in their own way.
    All lined in a row
    And awaiting inspection.
    A fluffy fire-breathing army.

  31. Wanda Gray

    Here is a replacement for "Daisy" since I wrote that one prior to this month. This one I just finished.

    Soft fuzzy brown hare
    stretches up to nibble
    succulent green leaf

  32. CJ

    A Moose, My Dear

    I saw it clear
    Among slender trails
    Its truth stood out to me

    Yet what to do
    A novice camper
    Fright to the Nth degree

    In muddy view
    Footprints fat and firm
    A moose, my dear. Help me!

    Reverse I go
    Quicker, faster, run!
    But where to run, to flee?

    I find haven
    Up a tree I go
    But there’s no guaranty

    When I looked down
    My fright increases
    I see footprints in threes.

    They’re everywhere
    Now what will I do?
    Reside in this old tree?

    Waiting for moose
    Modifies my plans
    Tuesday is out for me.

    A moose, my dear
    Keeping me stranded
    Now he’s staring at me

  33. J. Thomas Ross

    by J. Thomas Ross

    She raises her head and whines.
    Our eyes lock –
    hers gold and trusting,
    mine brown and bleak.
    I know what she wants,
    but I can find no more miracles.

    When she was ten
    and struggling to stand
    and going up the stairs so slow,
    one step by one laborious step,
    I chanced upon glucosamine –
    and Sally found new strength.

    She and I rejoiced and played;
    she never acted old,
    though large dogs don’t live long –
    so everybody says.
    She and I touched souls –
    I knew she’d stay with me.

    When she was thirteen
    three lumps grew on her side;
    I considered risks and benefits
    and paid for surgery,
    for she deserved the chance –
    and she survived and thrived.

    When she was fifteen
    seizures stiffened both hind legs.
    I used a towel to help her walk,
    bought anti-seizure medication
    from the human pharmacy –
    and she struggled on to walk again.

    Now she is sixteen
    unable to keep the medicine down
    she cannot walk or stand or move.
    She longs to climb the stairs
    to sleep on the floor by my side –
    But I have no more miracles.

    Sally whines her frustration;
    I know she will walk no more.
    So I make the hard decision
    and drive her to the vet,
    where she dies in my arms.
    And I cry.

  34. Vaughn Stelzenmuller






  35. Fenella Berry

    Alfie and Billy.

    Quick as a flash
    the thieving pair jump through
    the open door.
    Dusty brown. Black. White. Green glints
    eye the prize.
    White whiskers twitching
    pink velvets sniffing,
    searching out warily.
    Stealthily stealing
    old grey’s dinner.
    Startled by sound
    someone sees
    Snap shut flap bang.
    Scurrying to silent safety.
    Next door.

  36. Alicia Vogl Saenz

    The Parrots of Los Angeles

    An oh so L.A. freeway accident, some say.
    Imagine a truck transporting parrots,
    a crash on 110 freeway,
    not like Carlos Almaraz’
    “Crash in Phthalo Green”,
    car in flames, careening off an overpass.
    Simply, a fender bender, birds in danger, a key.
    Perhaps the truck driver imagined
    parrots in full flight, free. His hand
    reaches for the lock.

    Now flocks belong to neighborhoods:
    Pasadena, Culver City, Venice, Echo Park
    and in Highland Park they fly over my house
    a swath of green, loud and wild in urban landscape.