Friday Poetry with James Goertel: All Animals (I-VII)

Friday Poetry with James Goertel: All Animals (I-VII)

ALL ANIMALS (I-VII) from James Goertel’s bi-weekly poetry feature, Under The Same Moon, communes with while considering the animal kingdom we are all a part of.

Friday Poetry with James Goerte All Animals (I-VII)

The California Condor once numbered only 22 birds, but conservation measures have raised that to over 300 today. Photo credit: wikipedia


All animals,
fossil futures’
muffled humming beneath the weight
of sediment and stone, quietly churned
to oil

Our lamps light landscapes,
the dark of night broken
by a bowl of starlight –
the missing mass of matter
found in filaments of galaxies –
dead and buried we join the soil,
a final bedrock resting place

To lie down
with a thousand dead horses
in the fields of Little Big Horn,
To sink down
with remnants of mastodons
in the asphaltum of La Brea’s pits,
To fall down
with the weakest of an elk herd
in the dead, dark of Alaskan winter

Burn the last of what is left,
tall stands, hardwood mausoleums
of organic communion where
the time of Christ is marked
with rings,
just the same as yours or mine

The birds know no religion,
but fly closer to Heaven
than those who pray,
tame the beasts
for burden,
though a name for all
enslaves not even a single one

Our songs,
our books,
our tools,
our science,
our religion,
our progress

All impermanent,
as all animals succumb to time,
and we are only one of many
despite our imagined dominance


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon

James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


View Comments (1)
  • claudia saint-pierre

    As an animal and bird lover , T thank you for this poem ….It’s beautiful !


Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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