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.





Bee Swarm

Diving into its own intensity,
getting all the time greater
in noise and force. A frantic, powerful
entity not connected with the dawn or the night,
an inflamed person risen up furiously
primed, and not nearly finished, getting
greater in girth and sound
with a timbre like a Gregorian single-note, a swell of voices
enthralled by its own harmonics.
A slowly lifting gordian knot
of riot that sparks
flint-chips, amber arrow-points, a fighting host
hovering and casting a boiling shadow
above the sidewalk where the frail ivy
has just the day before been
tucked into the erosion-wrinkled land,
the wan green flags of the novice ground-cover nothing,
not even living, compared with this
muscled rage that by an hour's
tumult is absent, gone, two or three
spent winged splinters of the once-great
concord left behind on the ground,
while everything else has swept onward
to the places where day hides its power.


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.



        He abides near
flowing water even when it's
underground, knowing how to ghost
across the cornfield to the least whisper of runoff.

He knows the truth about more than the land,
this prophet of the real.
His paws search, grasp, choose,
and his gaze glitters from a mask

of dark.  Dogs fear him,
cats make a show of not seeing where he passes,
and homeowners share midnights with the hush
of his passing.

He loses nothing,
and the wide acres are his.
He always returns, jaunty,
bold, just-this-minute gone.
And in his persistence
he learns the failings of each dwelling,
every shadow his temporary home,
the cat-door, the missing latch,
the guardian mastiff who sits back

and surrenders his meal to this
psychic of the possible,
swift but in no hurry.



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