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.





The Flamingo

The pink of her plumage
is borrowed from the shells of shrimp she
snaps from the muddy grasses, as step-by-step
she extends her stride across
a kingdom not river, not sea,

safe because she is a replica
of another and another, copies every one.
She gazes.  She gazes again,
            a hunter
of no cunning, a swimmer of no depth.
Even her beauty is doubtful--
peering, straightening,
she drips water from a beak
too bent to be a weapon, too mute for song.
Emptily alert, she is

as tall as she needs to be
to attend to the multitude
that feeds in salt-shallows trodden green,
rises to cloud the sun,
and descends again to
reedy afterthought.  Nothing is hers.



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










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