Animals have a knack for knowing. Call it instinct if you must, but trust their acumen and you’ll know too. Write an animal poem and we’ll purr like a kitten!



She showed up at the nursing home, waiting to be let in.  Of course her chances for entry were near zero, as animals were not welcome.  But this pretty golden retriever would not take no for an answer.  I don’t know the story of how she actually gained entrance.  I can only tell you that by the time my grandmother was in their care, she had already become part of the facility's staff.  We were told that, from her very first moment inside, it seemed like she had just always been there. She knew where everything was. She knew the routine.  She knew this was a quiet place, and she abided.  She knew when a patient was soon to die.  She graciously stayed with them and comforted them until they passed …  but not before seeking entry permission from a nurse.  She knew her role. This was her life’s work.

I wonder … sometimes
might we glimpse Eden’s garden
in full bloom, pre-fall

© Marie Elena Good, 2022



Oh, canine of mine,
who would hurt you,
desert you,
leave you for dead?
What’s in your head?
Timidity and suspicion,
are conditions from which
you suffered. Your life,
confusing and refusing
to give a dog a break.
Their mistake was our gain.
Love and affection are now
you affliction, still with
trepidation, but your tail
wags elation a telling sign.
There was no mistake
in making you a part of the family.

(c) Walter J Wojtanik


74 thoughts on “PROMPT #412 – ANIMAL INSTINCT

  1. Oh my. Walt and Marie, you have prompted my mind AND heart here, you know. What a lovely story about this self appointed therapy dog, Marie. Surely a glimpse into heaven. And your adopted canine poem, Walt, brims with grateful joy. I know enough to wonder– who rescued whom?


    The thought occurred to me that loving you
    is wearisome, akin to pushing fleas
    across the yard; your constant needs and pleas
    remind me that, no matter what I do,
    your need for strokes and treats will never cease
    until your nine or ninety lives are through.
    The thought occurred to me

    that other cats, content to purr and mew,
    might be less of a bother; might climb trees;
    might while away the days across my knees.
    But years and memories reside in you.
    The thought occurred to me.

  3. Rothschild Giraffes of Kenya

    Beautiful Rothschild Giraffes
    deserve their rock-star status
    at the Giraffe Centre.

    Brown and cream patched coat,
    white socks
    and very long gray tongue.

    They develop a rhythm
    of scooping up food pellets with their tongue
    from one tourist to the next and back.

    Hold a pellet up for a selfie
    as it places its giant head
    over your shoulder to snatch a snack.

    Snacks don’t spoil their meals, though.
    They eat 145 pounds of acacia leaves a day
    to keep their very tall bodies going.

    Beautiful, beautiful animals.

  4. Lessons Learned from Cats

    Stress can not survive 
    playtime with a cat.
    Each encounter its own 
    time of renewal and brighter days,
    so much joy and gratitude in that.
    Sometimes I only observe,
    watching them take a break from hunting,
    telling me they own the backyard,
    basking a bit in the morning sun,
    urging me to smile, and that’s not hard.
    Cats are grateful for an audience,
    especially when at silly play
    with their alternative mice,
    appreciative of genuine warm-heartedness,
    a human who is more than food-giving nice.
    They constantly remind me to become
    someone worthy of their friendship,
    letting go of ego, power, pretense,
    inspiring me to live a life of
    incisive simplicity and common sense,
    and when I meet a new cat anywhere,
    no matter where I might go,
    offering a hand to nuzzle,
    remembering to say hello.

  5. Sign of the Rabbit

    In stillness of the morning
    a rabbit waits
    facing my car
    parked on a side street.

    The rabbit’s nose twitches I approach
    and it lets me near.

    It fixes its gaze on me
    brown eyes so big
    to watch my every move.

    I stop three feet away
    as its whiskers twitch
    and I maintain a slight distance
    to keep the fragile trust.

    I bear the weight
    of my past lives
    as I awaken
    to a sense
    of promise or woe.

    Drops of dew glisten
    on grass graced
    by light of the early sun.

    I listen to the stillness
    a song in the air
    as a cool breeze stirs
    leaves on trees
    about to fall.

    As the time I know
    is slipping out of
    the grasp of my fingers

    a soft voice inside
    says others must be forgiven.

    A moment of silence shared
    says more than idle words
    ever could.

    Fortunes told
    as I bear my pain
    the rabbit sign says
    as we’re alone

    that I’m on a pathway
    to heal my weary life.

  6. Maggie Mooch

    Scrawny little fur ball
    Showed up on our deck
    A cute little meow
    And a rub on my ankle

    I scratched her purring head
    Found a crook at the end of her tail
    Like a door bit her on a slow day

    Went to get her some food
    Mama gave me that look
    Not supposed to feed strays
    ‘Cause they won’t go away

    She was right
    Mooch came back
    Over and over
    And I fed her

    Then it got colder
    Mooch needed a home
    I coaxed her inside
    Didn’t take much
    Just more food

    Long story short
    Mooch is still here
    Crooked tail and all
    But no longer scrawny


    would make me out run
    my best sprint time
    in no time
    but not this time
    with six or seven people
    passing by each other
    on a walking path
    to Newport Beach
    a large black rattlesnake
    caused us all to stop
    and shake
    as it suddenly appeared
    reared it’s head
    as it began crawling out of the shrubs
    it glanced
    at each of us
    before it proceeded
    as if it needed
    to sense the level of trust
    an obvious must
    for a snake like that
    oddly, I could feel the snake’s
    calm intention
    to not bring any fear
    or harm
    to any of us gathered
    in awe
    of what we saw
    once it sensed no danger
    from any present stranger
    it lowered it’s head
    without dread
    moving across our path
    to again hide
    on the other side
    and moments later
    we all moved on, too
    forever moved
    by a snake
    who wanted respect
    by giving respect
    and teaching me
    they aren’t as scary as I once thought
    and yet
    I doubt
    I’ll ever find one
    I want to

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2022

  8. Deserted

    My life is not the same,
    with both dogs gone my heart hurts.
    Sadness is quite a drain.
    My life is not the same.
    My smiles are merely feigned.
    Nowhere can I find comfort.
    My life is not the same,
    with both dogs gone my heart hurts.


    In the world—
    there is a lack of mercy.
    A jungle full of dark predators
    with scanning eyes always on their prey.

    Regardless of who, or what
    gets in their way; they eat,
    like lust driven carnivores.

    They are all animals, wet, with innocent
    blood on their hands—without conscience,
    they steal, kill, and destroy.

    They are all animals driven
    solely by base instinct. They don’t stop
    to think, or consider—that the world
    is without mercy.

    ©️Benjamin Thomas

  10. Ode to Gus, the Mr. Darcy of the cat world….

    Gus, how I miss you!
    Each time I sit down at my desk-
    I miss your chats with me…
    Usually about feeding you…
    When I pointed to my watch,
    And say, “Not time.”
    You would ask, “Why?”
    I never had a good answer
    For that question…

    Gus, I miss you looking for me.
    I would hear you crying
    As you began to roam the house,
    And when you couldn’t find me
    I could hear the panic in your cries.
    As you passed by my office,
    I would say, “Gus, I am right here.”
    No creature ever had as much joy
    As finding me,
    As you did my sweet boy.

    As I watched television
    Gus, you gave the best
    Massage with acupuncture
    That I have ever got…
    Those big paws covered a big space,
    And I knew you wanted payment
    With a favorite treat.
    I would look at you and say,
    “Gus, play coy.”
    You would turn your head sideways,
    And blink your big eyes.
    You always got your treat.

    Gus, you were the best surprise gift
    I have ever gotten.
    Since I called you God’s gift,
    Thank you, God for Gus.
    I miss him something awful sometimes.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 14, 2022

  11. Passages

    Today on almost every backroad
    they crossed, some at a mincing trot
    others at a saunter to either vanish
    in cinnamon woods that match
    their tawny coats or vault fences
    only to pause and study the truck
    ears perked, white flag tails erect

    on too many roadsides evidence
    where someone failed to slow or
    perhaps just didn’t see, ignoring
    the local country rule of thumb
    ‘where there’s one there’s three’
    Either ahead or behind, herds
    traversing the same trails so that
    once learning their haunts
    you drive with one foot poised
    above the brake lest you become
    the reason for another ravaged carcass

    and tonight waiting for the marmalade
    cat that’s adopted us to appear
    like something materializing from
    the pages of Alice in Wonderland
    I open the door into the crisp night
    to hooves crunching maple leaves
    beneath trees just beyond the porch

    deer wending across the front yard
    the way five glided by two nights ago
    softly I call out a greeting, bid them safe passage
    the sudden silence letting me know
    of their pausing to study me
    beneath the porch light on this late November
    evening as the cat bounds up the steps
    ready for supper and they resume their walking.


    It takes a certain age of fogey
    to know a doggie ain’t no dogie;

    though both might have a case of mange,
    the dogie’s the one that roams the range

    and often is runtier than any other
    because the critter has lost its mother.

    A doggie often assumes the pose
    of a waggly tail and moistened nose

    and, though it might be a motherless pup,
    is never branded and rounded up.

    So, no way can a dogie be a doggie.
    It’s plain to see, if your brain ain’t foggy.

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