brings together for the first time

the animal poems of Michael Cadnum. 

Cats, ants, whales—even the stubborn, lowly louse—

here are thirty astonishing celebrations of the most

intriguing and often overlooked creatures of the animal kingdom.


Even the familiar creatures, like the Eagle and the Elephant, get new life in Cadnum’s unusual book.

The Raccoon makes an appearance, and the Peacock, and the Giraffe. 

So do the Jack Rabbit and the covertly assertive Roe Deer. 

Thirty poems in all celebrate the open secrets of the lives around us.

Rosemary Deen, poetry editor of Commonweal Magazine, says,

“Anyone who really wants to see the world will read and reread these animal poems:  Kingdom.”

A Kindle edition of this book now ready for you--and a paper edition, too.




This is the earth before
anyone laughed.
This is the persistent prehistoric
republic rising up along the wall,
escaping the rising groundwater trying
not to drown.
And in drought,
theirs are the hunters,
far from safety, groping
toward the still-moist sponge.
I marvel at their stubborn
multitude around
the stillborn robin’s chick but
I will not applaud them.
Here they are,
their long queue busy
all the way to the stored
Christmas candy under the bed.

Here is a solitary soldier
looking too small to have a pulse.
He feels his way, he feels his way across
the lighted sink top, so sure and even more sure--
he is so continual with his searching,
molecule-tipped limbs that
I lift my hand
and can’t. I can’t let the brute
palm fall as the illumination of the kitchen
and the daylight progress under
his intricate shadow and he stays in
one place, groping
as beneath him crawls the world



The Bee


A ricochet,
she races, lingers,
hurries to be forgotten,
the single vowel of a teeming alphabet,
too small to carry meaning.
Privation and bright colors,
these are what stir the amber full-stop,
this fragment made of hunger.

Dawn too cool,
noon too hot, where is peace
for this searcher? The chapter is the same,
beginning and beginning,
another blossom with a secret nearly as sweet
as its promise.

Almost followed by almost,
she survives beyond knowledge.
Even her dance of distance and direction
is the gavotte of decimals learning a new

place among the zeroes, notes finding a new
high-point within the octave as she
zig-zags, color to color,
clover to fuchsia to sage
in the only daylight.






A slowly lifting gordian knot
of riot that sparks
flint-chips, amber arrow-points, a fighting host
hovering and casting a boiling shadow

              from Bee Swarm










< Previous   Next >

© 2019 Michael Cadnum, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Content and content layout by Michael Cadnum
Programming and design by Cousin Isaac