A Partial Bestiary
(For my niece, Allison)
The aardvark’s worthy of our praise
His name begins with a pair of a’s
He is clever, suave and svelte
The classiest creature on the veldt.
He loves to go and eat his fill
At a convenient termite hill
This is really no malarkey
He can’t help being aardvarky.
The butterfly’s a killer diller
He starts life as a caterpillar
But then he tires of that state
And decides that he’ll pupate.
Then he hatches and the guy
Becomes an adult butterfly
And the name for all this is
The chimpanzee lives in a tree
He does not know astronomy
He is brave and he is bold
And clever as a five year old.
He wears a brightly hued bandanna
And eats a yellow ripe banana
If I could choose, I would not be
A creature like the chimpanzee.
Behold the friendly crocodile
He always greets you with a smil
But do not ask him for a ride
Or you may wind up inside.
If you meet him by a pool
Just apply the golden rule
Do not annoy him in his pride
Lest you end in his inside.
It’s very impolite to laugh
At the long neck of the giraffe
The reason why he is so tall
Need not then concern us at all.
He likes to eat the topmost branches
And read boring, cheap romances
And it’s interesting and true
He has a real stupendous view.
A furry animal is the gnu
He does not look like me or you
For lions, he’s a tasty feast
And also called the wildebeest.
He always travels in a herd
To try to change him is absurd
It isn’t profitable, it’s true
To have a friend who is a gnu.
The hummingbird came down the line
Of blossoms on the trumpet vine
Hummingbird, green one, I do find
Your flight a metaphor for the mind.
Pirhouetting, quick as a wink
As fast as the mind can think
Each migration do you go
Across the Gulf of Mexico.
The kangaroo she is no slouch
She keeps her children in a pouch
The children aren’t very showy
And each of them is called a joey.
The kangaroo she likes to bound
And covers lots and lots of ground
She likes to go out to a ball
Like any good marsupial.
Look how the foolish ostrich stands
With its had beneath the sands
The reason why is hard to say
But he does it anyway.
The ostrich lies on desert plains
To be oblivious he feigns
But it would be quite absurd
To imitate this silly bird.
Behold the bird known as the owl
He loves to eat both fish or fowl
And does his hunting all the night
And he finds that quite all right.
The owl, they say, is very wise
And easy is to recognize
And the bird is nearly mute
Except when he will give a hoot.
A funny creature is the seal
It doesn’t have much sex appeal
It doesn’t wear expensive clothes
But balances a ball upon its nose.
The seals live in big colonies
Which practically obstruct the breeze
You ask what is their favorite dish
It is, you’re right, a plate of fish.
The spider’s a creature very great
The number of his legs is eight
He spins a web to catch his prey
And so he lives from day to day
When he has a fine web spun
He likes to bask beneath the sun
You won’t believe it till you’ve tried a
Friend as useful as a spider
A lovely creature is the vulture
He is an advocate of culture
He likes it not if you ask why
He spends his days up in the sky.
The vulture dives upon the dead
Which is one way to get ahead
It would be better if he could sing
And get his meals at Burger King.
The whale’s the biggest one of all
His spout is like a waterfall
He does not use an escalator
And mostly lives near the equator.
To see a whale is quite a treat
He grows up to a hundred feet
He is not a rank landlubber
And people hunt him for his blubber.
The zebra’s coat is black on white
Or white and black
Is he a sight!!
(Roger didn’t finish this one. He wrote “rest of poem to follow.”)