We’re thinking animals this week. It’s a fact that animals are blessed with certain instincts and traits to aid in their survival. We know a cheetah is very fast. We’ve all heard of how “wise” an owl is. Squirrels are gatherers. Dogs are loyal; cats aloof… Take an animal trait or instinct and use that as your inspiration for your poetry. Mild or wild, get “animalistic” on us!


Animals can’t be
who they are not. Do you see
God’s fingerprints there?

© Marie Elena Good 2022



Silently they graze,
and suddenly in a dusty haze
they kick up their hooves 
and raise the roofs,
a guaranteed stampede indeed.
You can hear them rumble,
yet they remain humble,
they hear nature's call
as one by one their obstacles fall.
And from the deepest of chills
you can hear them shout,
Go Bills!

113 thoughts on “PROMPT #369 – ANIMAL INSTINCT

  1. Ditto what Damon said. Wonderful concise poetry Marie. Love it. Walt! Great poem! And those Bills were roaming alright. Great game, er blowout I should say. Now, we’ll see if my 49ers can win in similar fashion.


    There aren’t many,
    apex predators.

    Resting atop
    the food chain.

    Sitting enthroned
    at the peak,

    of their domain—

    Their rule, is based solely
    upon the consumption—

    Of their diet.

    Of what they’ve sank
    their teeth into.

    But, the real
    question is…

    What, or who
    have they eaten?

    In order to

    Who, or what
    have you preyed

    upon in order
    to prevail?

    You don’t become
    an apex predator

    Without eating.
    or without hunger.

    So what are you
    hungry for?

    © Benjamin Thomas

  3. Instinct
    Is it instinct
    for crow to caw
    or owl to hoot—
    just nature’s law?
    I watched a blue jay
    argue with a squirrel,
    the feeder-robber swirl
    his bushy tail at jay’s protest.
    Did either consciously
    regard the other as a pest?
    Is it instinct
    that births my words?
    Are poets more
    than squirrels or birds?
    There may be there
    in writer’s brains
    uncanny urges for refrains,
    embedded stanzas
    plump with rhyme,
    a leaning to put down
    in metered time,
    words that form from some
    unconscious thought.
    But there, within,
    beneath the written words
    is what we know is true
    of hungry squirrels and singing birds—
    or for that matter,
    lions that roar, and loons
    that wail over a lonely shore.
    A heart there beats with joy,
    a soul wants what is right,
    bones ache with deep sorrows,
    a calm song fills night.
    Thru instinct
    we may have and wield our voice,
    but what we say in poem
    comes from a choice.
    © Damon Dean, 2022


    There’s hunger for many things.
    Things that should not become meat.

    Like innocence, naïveté, or trust.
    Yet, there are ferocious carnivores.

    At odds with our sense of survival,
    or the right to a peaceful life.

    Long-fanged, bloodthirsty animals.
    Lurking, looking, luring—

    The next meal.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  5. Anointed
    The white-anointed crowns
    of cedars bow,
    bend over in humility imposed
    by weight of winter’s nighttime fallen snow,
    flakes frozen to each branch,
    each still green scale of leaf
    humbled quietly beneath
    an inch of cold.
    The crow, by instinct, knows to perch elsewhere—
    by caution, care, intuitive respect—
    lest by his black-feathered weight he break
    the boughs where in some spring to come
    he would, by instinct, nest and sleep and caw.
    © Damon Dean, 2022

  6. Thoroughly enjoying the presents here today. Happy for Walt and his sports joy, happy for MEG and her brilliant combo of today’s prompt and her daily seventeen. Poetic efficiency at its best.

  7. A Different Breed

    No man alive loves animals
    more than he,
    naming most birds in flight,
    and he’s usually right.
    Laughs to see
    dogs at play,
    kittens with their toys,
    all part of his search for
    new and different joys.

    He has no fear of death,
    heard too many reports of
    waiting friends, tunnels of light,
    once donated blood to see how it felt,
    then threw away the donut to taste hunger,
    went home and baked bread for the smell,
    finding all of it just right.
    He has a wonder filled heart
    and finds hope in the oddest places,
    in the smile of a toothless bum.
    the wagging tale of a mangy mutt.
    He never met a vegetable he didn’t like,
    especially the purple ones, but
    best are the wines, tried them all,
    zins, cabs, even innocent merlots,
    not so much for the alcohol,
    just to see how it goes.

    He’s made music a challenge,
    especially opera, serving
    as background, foreground too,
    in his discovery of life this turn,
    He reads fact and fiction,
    has friends gay and straight,
    transgender as well,
    to him they all rate.
    He sometimes looks tired,
    at least to his wife,
    but that’s how he’s seen
    by our eyes, not his,
    in his full, artful life.


    She prowls
    and softly growls
    with her tail carried low
    so that all may once again know
    the wolf.

  9. Like Footprints in Water

    Today in shale beds
    where you walked yesterday
    nothing remembers

    It’s the scent
    of mystery hovering
    an aura barely visible
    in wavering light
    a slight aroma
    musk and hide
    breath and wild

    luring you in
    soft imprints
    pad and claw and hoof
    signing soft mud wet snow

    you sniff air like a hound
    as you past last night’s beds
    beneath the cedars ground
    warm dry even as snow
    packs around your boots
    and water pools in tiny oceans
    behind cougar, deer

    you knowing how
    but never precisely
    where you’ll journey
    but as if attached to a lead line
    ahead of a straining team
    of sled dogs you’ll put down
    your head, stuff mittened hands
    into storm coat’s pockets
    and follow, follow.

  10. Marie, you said so much in your chosen few words. Impressive poetry and a point well made! Not a surprise you chose ‘Buffalo’, Walt. A nice tie in to the Bills, way to ‘score’ the two aspects! The buffalo is such a majestic animal and reflective of your ‘home’ and the range!


    A large black rattlesnake
    Began his crawl
    Across a walking path
    I stopped instantly
    Just in time
    With no intention
    Of not allowing the snake
    His take
    On which direction
    He preferred
    Ushered along
    At his pace
    Clearing the space
    The snake hesitated, too
    Clearly assessing
    The situation
    And the risk
    As five of us gathered now
    All in agreement
    Meant to show all respect
    Towards the animal
    As it was offered to us
    Right back
    Once the reptile sensed
    We were of no threat
    Set on no harm
    He lifted his head
    Turning it back and forth
    Slowly completing his journey
    Across our still and quiet path
    No wrath
    Occurred and not a sound
    As the mutual respect
    Allowed for us all
    To proceed in total awe
    With what we saw
    As we were simply walking by
    Somehow feeling transformed
    As a kind of union formed
    With all fear gone
    Just a quiet understanding
    Between all parties
    Parting ways
    In a new awareness, I suspect
    Following the obvious
    Passing of naturally new
    Mutual respect

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2022


    emotion stirs….


    Just before the quake
    of marmalade dawn.

    Raw, thoughts.
    Wet with blood.

    Drip, onto the floor
    of consciousness.

    Raw, memories,


    Draw the ire
    of the beast.

    Lurking from the
    dark side.

    Howling, hungry,


    Approaching from
    the east.

    At the presence,
    of uncooked meat.

    Raw, as the day


    Raw, food for

    Or, thoughts
    for food?

    The beast has
    always been—


    Of joys, of thrills
    of bliss, happiness.


    The raw me…

    The robbing


    The robin in me.
    That sang.

    A crimson red breasted
    migratory songbird.

    Full of the hymns
    of emergent dawn.

    Now there is a
    circumstellar song.

    Along the edge
    of winter’s freeze.

    Long before the break
    of day.

    I now possess the
    dangling keys.

    Of spring’s chorus,
    triumphant release.

    © Benjamin Thomas


    Out of all the Animalia,
    I’d be a feisty, striped little fella.
    With short stubbly legs. A furry faced

    Always keen on survival.
    Always keen to run away—
    from whatever displeases me.
    Running away from pesky predators.

    Running away, from people trying
    to get too close. Running away
    at the slightest shift in the wind.
    Timid, and antisocial.

    Always, running away.

    Stuffing my cheeks with food.
    Foraging. Sleeping. Hibernating.


    Stuffing my cheeks with food.
    Foraging. Sleeping. Hibernating.

    Dusk to dawn.
    Letting the world go by.
    Day by day.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  13. A walk in the snow…

    Today the sky is blue
    With billowing white clouds,
    And the sun so bright
    It hurts my eyes,

    It was snowing,
    And I took a walk…
    The air was cold
    And my cheeks were cold…
    And my shoes got wet
    From the wet snow
    On the ground…

    It was so quiet
    I could hear my feet crunch
    As I took each step…
    Down in the hollow
    I heard a woodpecker
    Doing its daily
    Search for bugs…

    I walked onwards
    There in my road
    Were the footprints
    Of a squirrel crossing
    From left to right.
    I did not see him,
    But down in the forest
    I heard his chatter.

    I came to the crossroads
    Where the new road
    Crossed with the old road.
    I saw in a tree
    A black as soot
    Turkey Buzzard.
    He looked so cold,
    That I decided to converse with him.
    “Good afternoon,” I said,
    He turned to look at me,
    And turned his back.
    I tried again,
    “You know that is rude
    To turn your back
    On someone speaking to you.”
    He shrugged his wet feathers,
    And continued to ignore me.
    “Mr. T. Buzzard, I just
    Wanted to know if you are okay.”
    He moved his feet up and down
    To get farther from me.
    “Take care Mr. Buzzard,
    And try to stay warm.”
    I assured him that the snow
    Would stop soon.
    He glanced back at me
    To see the annoying creature
    Interrupting his quiet repose.

    I turned for home for I was tired.
    On the way, there was an entertaining
    Junco dancing from limb to limb,
    And she made me smile
    At her antics.

    As I came upon my house
    I saw kitty tracks of Zippy
    And I smiled. He has found the shed
    To sleep warm and dry.
    He refuses the warm bed
    I put out for him.

    I came into the house
    To find Binkey and Tillie
    Sleeping in my bed,
    And I sat down to ponder…
    How beautiful the woods are
    And that my life is shared
    With those creatures that cross
    My path each day.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    January 17, 2022


    Under the fair trance of full
    moonlight showers.

    Hypnotized by the rainfall
    of its sparkling sight.

    Full blades of silver light,
    beckon the beast—

    Summon the hidden storm

    Teeth into fangs, lengthening,

    A once human mandible stretches
    into an extended snout.

    The vivid, stout orchestral aroma
    of the night is music.

    Trimmed nails transform into
    sharpened claws.

    The laws of physics have all
    been defied.

    What was once human—
    has been transmogrified.

    The howl from deep inside,
    bellows into bowels of midnight.

    I beat my chest in rhythm.
    Growling in anticipation.

    The fluid energy of the
    beast has been released.

    The smell of the fowl,
    the nearing of the feast.

    Full salivation. Dripping,

    I feel, the ultra-spring in my

    Possessing the impulsive instinct
    to hunt, to—feed.

    Overriding forgotten logic,
    lost human sensibilities.

    The beast against all resistance,
    has been freed.

    The drive to shed blood,
    is primal.

    To satisfy, to fully satiate,
    the dire need of hunger.

    To prey upon the night.
    Draw nigh upon the unsuspecting.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  15. Greedy Little Monkeys

    Greedy little monkeys take what they can get
    Shiny gadgets, food, even a cigarette
    Watch your belongings; they’re clever little imps
    A bit more ill-behaved than their cousin chimps
    They snatch, grab and take off, as fast as a jet

    They can be exceedingly naughty and yet
    They can steal your heart like a delightful pet
    “I am sweet and adorable,” they convince.
    Greedy little monkeys

    Most challenging creatures you have ever met
    High up in their trees you may just catch a glimpse
    Making their acquaintances is not for wimps
    Still seeing them would be immense fun, I bet
    Greedy little monkeys

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