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Anthology of Poetry - Undated and Readers' Poems


Tigers don't eat lettuce
Men weren't meant for meat;
Monkeys, men or tigers -
We are what we eat.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A Dog's Epitaph

from a stone in an Aberdeenshire churchyard, in memory of Pompey, born 1891, died 1902.

Soft lies the turf on one who finds his rest
Here on our common mother's ample breast.
Unstained by meanness, avarice and pride,
He never flattered and he never lied;
No gluttonous excess his slumber broke,
No burning alcohol, no stifling smoke;
He ne'er intrigued a rival to displace;
He ran, but never betted on, a race;
Content with harmless sports and moderate food,
Boundless in love, in faith, in gratitude;
Happy the man - if there be such? -
Of whom his epitaph can say as much.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

On a Woman Lecturing a man for Shooting Grouse
- quoted by Florence Suckling in her 'Humane Educator'

She quoted Burns's "Wounded Hare",
And certain stirring lines of Blake's,
And Ruskin on the fowls of air,
And Coleridge on the water snakes,
At Emerson's "Forebearance" he
Began to feel his will benumbed,
At Browning's "Donald" utterly
His soul surrendered and succumbed.

She smiled to find her point was gained,
And went with happy parting words
(He subsequently ascertained)
To trim her hat with humming birds.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If I could be God for just one day

I would like to be God for just one day,
I'd give all my creatures a chance to play.
I would bring to the suffering quick release,
I'd give to the frightened comfort and peace.
And those that were suffering would hunger no more,
I would heal all the wounded, bleeding and sore.
I'd close all the doors where sadists reign,
With their tests and their knives so ready for pain.
I would open the doors of the cages wide,
And offer their freedom to those inside.
I would throw out the traps that lie in wait,
For a small furry creature, a cruel fate.
I would close all the bullrings and break every spear,
And the rabbit no longer the greyhound would fear.
I would clean all the oil from out of the sea,.
I would let all the fish in the nets go free.
I would throw out the arrows that pierce so deep,
I would give to the tired the blessing of sleep.
I'd close all the tracks where the races are won,
By horses abused to make them run.
I would teach little children that birds are frail,
And puppies and kittens.......don't hold by the tail.
And the bunnies and chicks and ducklings so small,
I would not let stores have for sale at all.
I would free all the animals raised for fur,
I would tear down the ranches where they were.
I would open the pens that are stacked so high,
So legs could run free and wings could fly.
I would silence the sound of the hunters guns,
I'd give speed to the legs of the fox that runs.
I would break every rope by the rodeo used,
I would comfort the cattle the cowboy abused.
I would make all the streams run pure and sweet,
I'd show mercy to animals used for meat.
I would offer green grass to the worn out nag,
I would throw out the snares in the hunters bag.
I would break all the clubs that batter their prey,
I would take all the poison and throw it away.
I would close the arenas and bloody pits,
Where roosters and dogs are torn to bits.
I'd find homes for the homeless in cities and farms,
I would gather the strays in my loving arms.
I know it's not given to mind of man
The workings of God to understand,
But oh how I long for the day to come
Bringing help for the helpless, tortured and dumb.
And I mean no irreverence because I say
I would like to be God for just one day.

Sharon T. BENJAMIN (Copyright 1998)

I looked in your eyes for twenty years before I knew
A difference did not exist
Between you and the other
For you were the same -
My comforter,
And my victim

As though I was not grateful
For your mother's labor pain
As though my tongue thrived upon the last baby's breath

I felt no remorse twenty years before I thought
You were the creature and the companion
Both the pet and the beast
You were the same
And they gave me a mask
So I would be at once the hungry,
And later the deceiving friend

As though I could not have known
Out of convenience or otherwise
For I was a culprit with some mother dreaming revenge upon me
Angrily, helplessly seeking justice

I looked in your eyes for twenty years before I knew
A difference did not exist
And so I see you between the bars I have made my home
Between myself and the others
Until they see why I repent
To my comforter
And my victim.

Ross CLEMENT, Westminster,
- as posted to Nov 22 '94

There once was a young cow called Daisy
She ate and she ate, and was lazy
Through doing just that
She got terribly fat
And the sheep offal made her go crazy.

(note: this is a UK cow!)

Edmund Vance COOKE

They Called Him Rags
(Posted to 'talk.politics.animals' by David Barnett.)

They called him Rags, he was just a cur
But twice on the Western Line,
That little old bunch of faithful fur
Had offered his life for mine.

And all he got was bones and bread
And the leaving of soldiers' grub,
But he'd give his heart for a pat on the head,
A friendly tickle or rub.

And Rags got home with the regiment,
And then, in the breaking away--,
Well, whether they stole him, or whether he went,
I am not prepared to say.

But we mustered out, some to beer and gruel,
And some to sherry and shad,
And I went back to the Sawbones School,
Where I was an undergrad.

One day they took us budding M.D.'s
To one of those institutes
Where they demonstrate every new disease
By means of bisected brutes.

They had one animal tacked and tied
And slit like a full-dressed fish,
With his vitals pumping away inside
As pleasant as one might wish.

I stopped to look like the rest, of course,
And the beast's eyes leveled mine;
His short tail thumped with a feeble force,
And he uttered a tender whine.

It was Rags, yes, Rags! who was martyred there,
Who was quartered and crucified,
And he whined that whine which is doggish prayer
And he licked my hand--and died.

And I was no better in part nor whole
Than the gang I was found among,
And his innocent blood was on the soul
Which he blessed with his dying tongue.

Well! I've seen men go to courageous death
In the air, on sea, on land!
But only a dog would spend his breath
In a kiss for his murderer's hand.

And if there's no heaven for love like that,
For such four-legged fealtly--well!
If I have any choice, I tell you flat,
I'll take my chance in hell.


The folowing are all from THE HUMANE MOTHER GOOSE as mailed to Vegan-L mailing list on Thu, 17 Nov 1994 by "James O. Mayor"

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
No, sir, no, sir,
Not for you to pull,
Don't lock me up, sir,
And don't give me pain,
And don't try to use me
For your personal gain.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Bye, baby bunting,
Daddy's never hunting,
Would not use animal skins
To wrap the baby bunting in.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Goosey, goosey gander,
Wither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady's chamber.
There I met an old man
Who was in such despair,
I took him gently by the arm
And gave him tender care.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Humpty Dumpty
Sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty
Had a great fall;
But some brave horses
And some kind men
came and caught Humpty
In a soft pen.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Hush-a-bye, baby,
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks
The cradle won't fall,
Mommy will catch you,
Cradle, and all.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Jack Sprat would eat no fat,
His wife would eat no lean,
They loved the animals, you see,
So lived on grains and beans.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Little Ms Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her
Soy curd pate;
There came a big spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And so she said,
"Please, won't you stay?"
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Escaped from a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
"How dare you try to catch us
And put us in that thing!"
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy ate no meat;
Taffy came to my house
And said he hated beef.
I said to Taffy then,
"Tell me why you moan."
Taffy said no creature
Should have flesh torn from bone.
I said to Taffy then,
"I get what you said.
I'll never eat meat again,
I'll just be veggie-fed."
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

There was a little man,
And he had a little gun,
And his bullets were made
Of lead, lead, lead;
He went to the brook,
To shoot a little duck,
but he chose to save him
Instead, stead, stead.
He took his gun home
To his kind wife Joan,
And bade her a fire for
To make, make, make,
There to destroy the gun
He used in the brook,
Never to remake that
Mistake, take, take.
So he went to the brook
With some bread in a pail,
To feed the little duck
'Til dark, dark, dark.
He went home hoping
They'd meet again soon,
And away flew the duck with
A quack, quack, quack.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe,
She knew of homeless children
And she hoped to help a few,
So she gave them a home
And she kept them well-fed;
She kissed them all gently
And put them to bed.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

This little piggie's not for market,
He shall live happily at home,
Eating his corn and his mashed beets,
Merrily he likes his fun.
This little piggie's content and free on his own.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

See them have fun!
They all ran up to
The farmer's wife,
She gave them some fruit
Much to their delight,
She's doing her part
To sustain all life,
With three kind mice.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

To market, to market,
To buy peas and figs;
Home again, home again,
To eat with the vegetables
Grown near the bog;
Home again, home again,
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tom, Tom,
The piper's son,
Saved a pig
And away he run;
So none could eat
The pig so sweet,
Together they ran
Down the street.

Gila MANCHESTER - contributed by Jonathan Esterhazy
- from a book entitled The Poetry of Gila Manchester


The lighted window shows the room
So warm and softly glowing,
The tree so tall with twinkling lights
And all the presents showing.
While just outside a starving cat
Stands shivering in the cold,
And down the street a stray dog limps,
So tired and sick and old.

The baby monkey in the lab
Lets out a cry of fear.
The thing he thought was mother
Shot out quills when he drew near.
The car speeds by, the puppy cries
And drags her broken leg.
The beaver in the leghold trap
Lifts pain-filled eyes that beg.
How can we speak of peace on earth
And know these things are so,
And say they don't concern us
And we ought to let them go?
How can we think we have the right
To torture needlessly,
When all the time we know so well
It shouldn't have to be.

Come join with us at Christmas time
And pledge ourselves anew.
They need our help so badly,
There's so much that we can do.
Don't turn your back upon their pain
Because it's hard to see.
They have no other place to turn,
They've only you and me.

F.F. VAN de WATER - contributed by Janet Hatch

The steel jaws clamped and held him fast,
None marked his fright, none heard his cries.
His struggles ceased; he lay at last
With wide, uncomprehending eyes,
And watched the sky grow dark above
And watched the sunset turn to grey.
And quaked in anguish while he strove
To gnaw the prisoned leg away.
Then day came rosy from the east,
But still the steel jaws kept their hold,
And no one watched the prisoned beast,
But fear and hunger, thirst and cold.
Oppressed by pain, his dread grew numb,
Fright no more stirred his flagging breath.
He longed, in vain, to see him come
The cruel hunter, bringing death.
Then through the gloom that night came One
Who set the timid spirit free;
"I know thine anguish, little son;
So once men held and tortured Me."

J.T.WOLFE, New York

From the Vegetarian Journal published by The Vegetarian Resource Group, PO Box 1463, Baltimore Maryland 21203
posted to Nov 22 '94 by 'rainbow rider'

Make It Rare

Red Meat, so sweet to eat?
Environmental damage at our feet.
So much crude oil, oats, and wheat,
to make a pound of sweet red meat.

By eating much less
of that animal flesh,
our poor friends to the south
have more grain to dole out.

With less meat on our plate,
we'll delay our fate.
Our hearts will beat stronger,
we'll have friends much longer.

Butcher, chop your meat.
Millions daily is no easy feat.
We're coming, coupon in hand,
to contaminate our glands.

Burger, fries and shake,
will we consumers ever wake?
Perhaps when land and fuel are gone,
the light of wisdom will come on.

“I’m going vegetarian!”
Alexandra Spicer, South Africa

‘Its cruel’ exclaimed my daughter – referring to the slaughter
Which I had denied – with which I had never identified.
Caught off-guard in total surprise
I stared in bewilderment into her emotion laden eyes
Her ‘I’m going vegetarian’ statement slowly sinking in.

What a learning experience her decision became for me
She understood the word ‘cruelty’
And I started to understand the meaning of ‘hypocrisy’
I learnt that certain patterns of behaviour support human misery
And reflected on my promise
To this sweet helpless child on the day of her birth
“To love her and protect her while I was here on earth”
And questioned what had been my mother’s prayer
Her mother – my grandmother’s too?
The same! But didn’t they live through World War One and Two?

So we follow in the footsteps of the millions who have gone before
Who fought for survival, land or a cause
And lost their lives through hatred and through war.
And through increased understanding have some now come to see
How enslaved we’ll always be by perpetuating cruelty?

Intuitively some know, while others struggle to start
The path towards the attaining, or is it the regaining
Of their birthright – the right to a compassionate heart?
So when you hear those words which mean ‘I truly care’
Do your best to be there – to help them stand their ground
You could be the one who is incredibly thankful
That their thinking turned your thinking upside down and right around!


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