2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 2

For today’s prompt, write an animal spirit poem (or spirit animal poem). What I’m thinking is to make the title of the poem the animal and then write a poem as if you are that animal. Or look at ways you identify with that animal. Another possibility (if this is too New Age): Write a poem about an animal. Period.


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Here’s my attempt at an Animal Spirit poem:


My first instinct is to run,
but you’ve found a way
of taming me, getting me
to carry you and all you
carry; it goes against my
nature but you’ve nurtured
me to this point, and now
I can’t imagine life without


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He’s been known to write poems about horses from time to time–sometimes at the request of his 5-year-old daughter, sometimes just for himself.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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211 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 2

  1. ToniBee3

    All Eyes on Aye-Aye

    stir up the night
    with your eyes big and bright

    leap for the air
    with your spirited flair

    chasing the vines
    through the twists of the twine

    tapping tap tap
    for that savory sap

    dine on a fig
    or a grub or a twig

    dazzle the trees
    with your masterful sprees

    aye-aye you are
    a charm under the stars

    stir up the night
    with your eyes big and bright

  2. emilybee

    Life Cycle of a House Fly

    Neither butterfly nor pegasus envies her membranous wing.
    Dark lady, dung-covered, a common house fly.
    Metis turns to Io. Her thorax is buzzing.

    One meeting, mating yields a hundred offspring.
    Legless maggots, born where others die.
    Neither butterfly nor pegasus envies her membranous wing.

    Diseased, disordered body the offering
    Upon which they feed, her larvae.
    Metis turns to Io. Her thorax is buzzing.

    Fly to woman, woman to cow, no cunning.
    All she can do is comply.
    Neither butterfly nor pegasus envies her membranous wing.

    Brother or father, she is waiting.
    Tail swishes side to side, with a sigh.
    Metis turns to Io. Her thorax is buzzing.

    Fevered carrion, an offering
    Of livestock lost, cattle prod denied.
    Neither butterfly nor pegasus envies her membranous wing.
    Metis turns Io. Her thorax is buzzing.

  3. tripoet

    Imagine you are a raccoon under the moonlight flattened on the side of the street just as you prepare to enter the passage into your home.

    Hit & Run
    A car going 90 mph
    carrying millennials
    who don’t care
    about leaving damage
    or the night life.

  4. Julieann


    I have a free spirit
    I don’t like to be in a back yard
    And a leash, oh, my!
    I love chasing squirrels and birds
    And cats, oh, yeah!
    But my favorite thing to do
    Is run full speed
    Chasing trains!

  5. JRSimmang


    I’ve been called that before.

    is my mask.

    Trash and discarded memories
    my Stygian rafts
    and ring-tailed thieves
    assume their stereotypes
    intertwined with their fingers wrapped
    around their preciousness

    I’ve been all these things
    adrift among the suspensions and
    high rise noses upturned.

    I’ve never been called,
    but I am like you
    and together we writhe
    the Rat King
    is not me.

    It is your desire to feed among the living.

    we are

    -JR Simmang

  6. Kasey

    The Aging Shetland Pony

    I carried you when you were small.
    My name became a song you’d sing.
    Deep in the field, I heard your call.

    My tender feet moved at a crawl,
    led by a bridle of grass-string.
    I carried you when you were small.

    You made me feel twenty hands tall,
    and on those days, I stopped aging.
    Deep in the field I heard your call,

    it echoed ‘cross the rural sprawl.
    We spent our days down by the spring.
    I carried you when you were small.

    Remind me when you got so tall?
    And why we had to stop riding?
    Deep in the field, I heard your call.

    But then one day I took a fall,
    and my last thought was of one thing:
    Deep in the field, I heard your call…
    I carried you when you were small.

  7. PKP

    In the dim light

    in the lit dim
    of your dark
    I see you stretching
    your neck – arching
    the sole of your
    strangely hairless
    paw – reaching
    around your
    back stretching –
    your tail caught
    in some elastic
    gadget pulled
    away from your
    unseeing eyes –
    you shift there
    on the couch
    in the darkness
    staring at the
    eye of the moving
    pictures searching
    for the ease within
    your skin that I
    feel effortlessly
    I see you though
    you do not see
    me with your
    failing sight
    watching your
    struggle – I
    languidly lounge
    right leg above
    left ear lift, hold,
    lower, loose –
    I watch you
    struggle for
    the sinuous
    that separates
    our worlds…
    in the lit dim
    of your dark

  8. foodpoet


    When the wind blows messages
    Otter and snake and
    Other family spirits are in the high hills
    Denali tsin yiikaaliii
    Pajaro carpintero
    Echoes of feathers that bring messages
    Canyon calls desert wind
    Knock knock of acorn birds
    Echoes of feathers that send messages
    Reaching across the void of passage

  9. Michelle Hed


    Wisdom shines from his eyes
    and intuition runs through his veins.
    He’s cloaked
    liked a mystery by the night
    yet his calls go right to my soul.

    I’ve seen him at dawn and dusk
    and even in the day
    but at night
    he sings to me
    of secrets not to be shared.

    He’s my guardian
    and my messenger
    and sometimes I can see through his eyes
    and feel his insight
    and our freedom
    as we fly through the night.

  10. candy

    I Am the Cat

    Sleek and stealthy
    I rule the night
    Stalking prey
    Chasing shadows
    Snacking on spiders
    I roam my territory like
    The royal feline that
    I am
    And when you, the
    Lowly human
    Rise from your sleep
    I curl up for a hard earned
    You wonder why I sleep
    All day

  11. PSC in CT

    Chipmunk is…

    an acrobat,
    a tumbler, a clown –
    a silly, nimble gymnast.

    Skittish, but hardly timid;
    tiny, but nowise mousy;

    charming, graceful, appealing,
    and a tickler of funny bones,
    appearing wholly without guile

    who never (ever) fails
    to make me smile.

    1. LadyBug5162

      Grey Wolf

      I walk in the moonlight
      I’m seeking my one and only
      Where is he?
      I howl at the moon
      The sound reverberates thru the forest
      Oww-ww oww-ww oww-ooooo
      I stop
      One more time
      Ow oww-oooo
      From a great distance
      I haer an answer
      He’s coming

  12. Yolee


    climbed a 108 year old
    tree. I watched them plunge,
    choke and rise again.

    2016 swept where leaves tilled
    a trail of loses. Hope was set
    free to dust off diamonds
    obliged to a dream.

    Now roots, fruits and nuts
    swarm at your feet.

  13. shellkaysm

    Feral Feline

    Wild spirit so vernal,
    searching, seeking what lies
    just beyond the unknown.
    Eyes, ominous as night,
    seem to peer straight on through.

    Introvert eternal,
    misjudged ‘hind vagrant’s guise,
    I prowl, often alone.
    Though mystics dodge my plight,
    I wonder what moves you.

    Can you sense the kernel
    of truth amidst my cries?
    Cliched nine lives atone
    with the past’s earned insight,
    wisdom painful but true.

    A collar of rhinestones
    would constrict, fit too tight,
    never match freedom’s view.

  14. Tracy Davidson


    I was peacefully dreaming
    on a cold and silent night,
    when a woman started screaming
    and gave me quite a fright.

    A kindly looking stranger
    led a woman through the door,
    he emptied out my manger,
    placed my food upon the floor.

    The sound of muttered praying
    and the look upon her face
    prevented me from braying
    at this invasion of my space.

    She really was a beauty
    and though I can’t explain,
    somehow I knew it was my duty
    to see her through the pain.

    I looked into her gentle eyes,
    she met my loving stare,
    it seemed to calm her painful cries
    to have me standing there.

    In the middle of the night,
    on a blanket I’d once worn,
    I stood and watched the magic sight
    as a baby boy was born.

    People came to see the child
    as he lay on his makeshift bed.
    He never cried, was meek and mild,
    as all touched his little head.

    In a stable, among the straw,
    where this lowly donkey stood,
    my heart tells me that what I saw
    was the start of something good.

  15. Valkyri

    “my giraffe dream”

    powerful and sleek
    lean and svelte
    I am beautiful
    running on grass
    muscles strong, firm
    gaite graceful, delicate
    sun shining down
    on the herd
    velvet horns new
    scent of cows
    fill my nose
    following the aroma
    of pure rut
    strong neck fighting
    another lusty bull
    for her favor
    then for lunch
    cool breeze rustling
    sweet green leaves
    atop tall trees

  16. pipersfancy


    I heard your untainted name
    intoned by God to hang on your soul—
    heavy flight defying gravity.

    I carried it to you in sly whispers, lay them
    one atop the other until they hardened
    into sediment on the bed of life’s flow.

    And still, you did not understand
    the chaos of black silence—wings
    pulsating in time to a waiting heart

    until the weight of this knowledge
    demanded a voice—Caw! Caw! Caw!
    and newly fledged truth leapt forth.

  17. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    So the herd has made it through,
    The way we always seem to do;
    We grazed where the greenest grasses grew;
    We gained a couple; we lost a few.

    We lounged in the river when the sun was high,
    Under the dome of a cloudless sky;
    We followed new growth up the hill;
    If not for the frost, we’d be there still.

    But winter’s closing in again,
    Though it’s not been long since summer’s end.
    The leaves are turning and letting go,
    It won’t be long until there’s snow.

    Then we’ll huddle together through wind and storm,
    With the geyser’s breath to keep us warm.
    We’d not surviv, each one alone;
    Such is life in Yellowstone.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Tiny fish in a bowl
      Fluttering fins fan out
      To stay afloat.
      While scales hide and hold
      The skin, skeleton, and bones
      Of love swimming about.
      Tiny fish in a bowl
      Fluttered fins fan out
      To stay afloat.
      Not taking the morseled bait
      And get caught and hooked;
      Drowning in the waters that surround.
      By Pamelap

  18. Sara McNulty


    My reputation
    is not easy
    to live up to.
    Yes, I look fierce,
    many seek me out
    for protection.
    Their selection,
    King of The Jungle,
    puts me under
    great pressure.
    Of course I have
    my pride, but
    I would not mind
    taking some time off.
    Why can’t Cheetah
    handle things
    for a few days?
    Then I could have
    my mane properly tended to.

  19. bethwk

    by Beth Weaver-Kreider

    Elusive as mist I slip
    through the village
    at midnight.

    Eyes moon-bright,
    I lope in the shadows
    down the starry path
    toward the river.

    My night-song will wake you
    with a tingle in your spine:
    a bark, a laugh, a warning.

    I defend your door from danger,
    standing at the gates,
    in the liminal spaces
    between the village of your heart
    and the river of your living.

    Listen for padding of my paws
    in the darkness outside your window.
    Watch for my shadow
    to cross the moonlight
    in your doorway.

  20. RJ Clarken


    “I admire Dickens beyond words. He is one of the greatest plotters of all times.” ~Donna Leon

    My spirit animal is such
    a friend to have when in a clutch.
    If I should need a turn of phrase or plot
    my otter’s there…always.

    That’s why I call him PLotter, see?
    All storylines he gives to me.
    He’s clever for a furry brute, but then
    again, I can’t dispute

    my PLotter’s knack for anecdotes
    and famous quotes. Each with footnotes.
    He gets the whole mechanics of each plot.
    Upshot? It’s otter love.

    I am so lucky for my muse.
    O gush! I lustily enthuse.
    I wonder if Ol’ Dickens ‘chose’ a chum
    who’d come with stirring prose.

    But even if he didn’t own
    a furry critter as capstone,
    I bet he was encouraged by a force
    whose source would qualify.


  21. elishevasmom

    Feline Dialysis

    It happens the same every time.
    My human lies down
    and pulls me snug up on top
    or alongside.
    What follows
    is pain and confusion
    coming from her,
    and pure and calm
    going back from me.
    She has some fancy
    name for it (she does that a lot).
    I just call it love.
    My best friend,
    they call her a d.o.g.,
    tells me she does the same
    with her human
    all the time.

    Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2016
    PAD 11.16 an animal spirit poem

  22. seingraham


    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf
    and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
    Rudyard Kipling

    Luna cracks the crest of the hill
    She is full and round as a pregnant bitch
    And she pulls the pack to their feet
    As surely as she tugs the tides to shore
    They stretch and nudge each other, languorous,
    after sleeping away a warm autumn day
    I see them glance at me as I shake myself
    awake, notice how my winter-white coat
    is thickening already
    How I am grown larger this past year
    Ready to lead? I know I am

    I leap upon the promontory where once
    the old one reigned
    All heads swivel towards me; they have
    been waiting for this since our leader—
    old and ailing—slunk away to die
    And, since the Beta and I fought hard and bloody
    for this place
    I triumphed, but spared him—the sign of a true leader
    I hope I don’t regret my decision

    Ah, Luna cruises high above the trees now
    Throws her radiance upon us all
    It’s time – I sit with my back erect, and throw
    my head up, nose to the sky
    Deliver my first howl as the pack’s leader—
    And again—without cessation, I continue
    Off to the side, I see the Beta; he is the first
    to join me and his howls harmonize strongly
    with my own

    The rest follow Beta’s lead; the forest
    and the rocks reverberate with this mighty
    pack’s ululation
    As we howl down the night, before we lope
    off to hunt.

  23. lsteadly


    canine cousins can you
    hear me chase the hunger down?
    I leave a dusting on
    the leaves for you to find
    musings from the wild side
    of memories long lost in
    your pads now soft and pampered –
    unlike mine which still tingle
    on the moss, settle firmly on the stones,
    the stars my guide
    the moon my trickster brother
    whose light echoes my cries

  24. uvr

    Polar Bare

    And the ice drips liquid into the blue
    and my world shrinks every day
    and I scrabble for a firmer foothold on unstable ground
    and my daily trudge takes me farther
    and my footprints leave no mark on slush
    and no longer show me the way home
    and the strength ebbs under a fierce sun
    and I grow desperate for a morsel
    and think of the days when my coat gleamed whiter than the snows that fell as thick as the layers on my back
    and I see death sparkle on glittering waves
    and I finally lie in a warm watery grave
    and my dying wish to be buried in the cold melts away
    and my last breath leaves no wispy cloud in the fading stillness

    1. lsteadly

      So moving… you capture perfectly the tragedy of these magnificent animals left helpless by global warming… beautifully done. It’s good to see you here again!

  25. DMK

    squirrel spirit winter storing
    by Dawn Kvernenes

    sun light up bright
    winter coming blight
    have to eat have to store
    no time to explore
    i smell red, i smell, i smell apples; apples left on the tree
    too big to get, i’ll take just a little bit for me
    oh, that is good. i’ll just take more in the pouches in my cheek
    oh, look i see one i can carry, i can store, play the meek
    feed the family, grab branch between my toes
    lay back in backwards layout pose
    got it in my mouth, giant! statue still
    don’t drop, stay still, takes all my will
    giant’s tree must be
    need get home feed the family
    run and race, laughing solemn giant standing just staring
    its okay, run off now, no shouting, throwing or glaring
    take cover under the ferns
    oh thank God for rain my children will learn

  26. Kim Bailey Deal

    Death’s-Head Hawkmoth

    Metamorphosis is eminent,
    as I lie still on these dark leaves
    Lemon verbena sustains
    my growth, grey and large
    mandibles click,
    back off before
    I sway and dance for you.

    Do not disturb
    there is more to me than this;
    I’ll show you as I burrow,
    the dark soil holds me still
    old skin sloughed, removed
    ready for resurgence
    radical and free,

    I fly with force and wisdom,
    seeking sweet honey
    songs on my yellow black
    wings, wondrous my voice can pierce
    my head a skull, shocking
    your eyes and ears
    as I soar away.

  27. writinglife16


    The pride is across
    the rainbow bridge.
    Purring and meowing.
    Stalking and sleeping.
    And watching.
    Don’t worry when
    your current cats
    look off into space
    as if they hear or see
    They do.

  28. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    why not soar with me
    come see the world through my eyes
    as I’m falling free
    glass canyons reflecting skies
    and city-dwellers’ surprise

  29. Rie Sheridan Rose

    The Cat

    They say I have nine lives…
    perhaps it is merely that I live
    to the fullest.

    You scurry and worry and
    never get anywhere.

    I sleep when and where
    I please and yawn
    if you complain.

    You fear the dark–
    I revel in it.

    You fawn for affection–
    I take it as my due.

    You don’t know how to live.
    Of course you can only do it once.

  30. taylor graham


    This Fox you didn’t see today is sprung
    of brush and asphalt, free as clouding sky,
    as metaphor. And you have only puns
    to pay, your prosy obligations hung
    about your neck, your fantasies let fly
    with me at autumn turnings of the suns.
    I’m gone. Your Fox is but myself and will
    not come to call, to make truth of your lie.
    Not quite a lie – your wordless yet-undones –
    as you drive past these silent woods. And still
    Fox runs.


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