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A short poem about an animal

Our assignment for this month was from Laura Purdie Salas: write a short poem (6 lines or fewer) about an animal, using all three of these words: spike, roof, shadow.

My first thought was to write about a baby pangolin, because have you seen a picture of a baby pangolin?


I have more predictably settled on a cat. Because of course.

Here's my take:

Not on a hot tin roof, not even once,
she sits on sills, twitches
at squirrels and birds, bugs and grasses,
shadows, dead leaves. She chases and hunts
in dreams, imagines fangs and claws,
spikes her felt bird when she wakes.

You can find the poems by my poetry sisters here. Edited to add: And Andi is finally back and joining us this month!:


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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Kat Apel
Oct. 5th, 2018 10:33 am (UTC)
Kathryn Apel
Beautiful! Love that last line. A last line is everything, in a poem! And if you hadn't said what it was, I would have imagined that baby pangolin(???) was a concrete garden ornament/mythical creature!
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Kathryn Apel
Aren't they adorable? They often look a little apologetic (at least in photos).
Oct. 5th, 2018 11:08 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh--haha! You totally had me salivating for a baby pangolin poem:>) But I adore cats, and this is wonderful. That last line--whew! And I loved how you used the roof idiom to show her domesticity, her indoor-ness, which makes the ending EVEN better!
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:12 pm (UTC)
I just didn't feel up to doing the research on pangolins -- LOL!
Linda Baie
Oct. 5th, 2018 02:01 pm (UTC)
And she "twitches" without seeming to! You've shown the cats I know wonderfully, Kelly. Amazingly, I'm sharing an old X.j. Kennedy poetry book & he has written a pangolin poem. Until I read it, I'd never heard of this animal, & now you've shared the cutest pic of one. Thanks for all!
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:13 pm (UTC)
I've spotted some pangolin photos online over the past few months, and know little to nothing about them apart from them being ADORABLE and improbable in photos. And how cool is X.J. Kennedy, as always?
Liz Garton Scanlon
Oct. 5th, 2018 02:59 pm (UTC)
Ha ha -- that pangolin tease!

LOVE your cat poem, though, of course.
Especially that felt bird....
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:14 pm (UTC)
Re: pangolin
I did choose my icon for this post on purpose -- I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. And in real life, the felt bird no longer has a head. O_o
Andi Sibley
Oct. 5th, 2018 04:25 pm (UTC)
You've managed to get layers of meaning into those six lines, so that I keep having to read it again. Wonderful word picture of your kitty!
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:15 pm (UTC)
I am so excited you are back! And thank you for the kind words!
Jane Whittingham
Oct. 5th, 2018 05:18 pm (UTC)
As much as I love that baby pangolin, I'm always happy for a cat poem!
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:15 pm (UTC)
I love cats, too. Thanks!
TS Davis
Oct. 5th, 2018 05:28 pm (UTC)
I love that she attacks the bird...
Her dreams give her fodder for abrupt attacks when she wakes! Kitty's adorable in a way the pangolin doesn't even imagine yet.
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:15 pm (UTC)
Re: I love that she attacks the bird...
That baby pangolin looks super apologetic, like it's sorry to interrupt.

Buffy Silverman
Oct. 5th, 2018 05:37 pm (UTC)
Love the different ways you all have used spike!
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:16 pm (UTC)
That was the one that made the poem hardest, in my opinion!
Oct. 6th, 2018 11:50 pm (UTC)
poetic cat
I have never seen a baby pangolin, but I want more! And your poem so captures a cat. Aren't they poetic in the way they sit and twitch and pounce?
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:17 pm (UTC)
Re: poetic cat
I keep meaning to watch The Lion In Your Living Room, which is a one-hour documentary about cats. They are far closer to their wild cousins than dogs are, apparently. And I love love love my kitty. And want to learn more about pangolins.
Oct. 7th, 2018 11:42 am (UTC)
If not a baby pangolin...
...then a baby sloth next time, please! :-)

Love that felt-bird pounce!
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: If not a baby pangolin...
Truth: the felt bird was a gift from Linda Urban years ago, and was NOT MEANT TO BE A CAT TOY but she kept taking it. And now it is . . . headless. O_o
Sara Lewis Holmes
Oct. 7th, 2018 05:37 pm (UTC)
Gotta say I was 99% sure you would enshrine a cat! But I love how quietly you've used the words so I had to go back and look for them.....they definitely walk in on "little cat feet" as Carl Sandburg would say. At least until that SPIKE. Ha! What a great ending.
Oct. 7th, 2018 06:19 pm (UTC)
I found SPIKE to be the hardest word to work into the poem, but then remembered the cat tossing her felt bird around and it worked out. And yes, I am predictable . . .
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Oct. 7th, 2018 08:02 pm (UTC)
First, that pangolin is a big old tease. He's adorably cute and I think he looks a bit like Yoda. I do hope we get a pangolin poem some day, but in it's stead is a perfect offering. I really love this view of a cat, and I'm with the others in loving the spiked bird.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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