Originally posted 3/10/2013.
Once upon a time a wolf, a hawk, a dog,
a cat, a snake, and a pig
were hanging out together
outside of a poet’s house —
the one place they knew
they could be safe
from natural enemies
and from each other.
Each was waiting to be chosen
as a symbolic inspiration to others,
or to be pressed into service
as a metaphor for something else.
They spoke in low voices over coffee —
who might be chosen?
Snake and Pig prayed for the writer to be
Dog and Cat argued
for a sonnet on domestic abuse.
Wolf and Hawk, as always, took the
metaphysical angle; hoped
for someone with a natural bent
who could press them into aspirational role modeling.
When the door opened and the poet beckoned
it took them but a moment to swarm in.
It wasn’t planned but they were tired,
and damned if anyone was going to be asked
to be anything other than what
This is the poem they ended up in
and they lived happily ever after.
Well, perhaps it was not ever after,
but for a moment at least they were happy.
Not as happy as they would have been
if the poet had just offered
to put each of them into a haiku
without bending them to human need at all,
but pretty happy —
for a while anyway,
at least until the next poet sat back
from scratching on their pad.