The Poetry of Nature

By John "Birdman" Bryant


Most of the following poems are from the poetry section of my book Bryant's Law and Other Broadsides. I have written two volumes entirely devoted to poetry: Leaves of Grass and Better Than Shakespeare.


Nature's Little Cleaners

The following poem won a Golden Poet Award.

The fly, we know is awful, and with paper or pantoffle, we would gladly give each one of them a whack;

The roach is not much better tho the squash may be less wetter; and the mouse to God we gladly would give back.

But even tho we feel that we would give a startled squeal if we should find our home is now their hunting-ground,

We ought to give a thought to all the good that they have wrought by cleaning up the messes that we've left around.

For who would take the trouble to retrieve a piece of rubble that was slopped from plate or pan onto the floor?

And who would think a dripping had a taste that was so gripping after it had run most halfway down the door?

O but the mouse would surely trouble to consume the piece of rubble, and the dripping would be loved by roach and fly;

And so we see these tiny gleaners are just nature's little cleaners and they'll clean up all our messes by and by.

So let us not forget, if we should ever start to fret, about how mice and flies and roaches can be stopped,

That tho our swats and baiting make their likes less irritating, we are only killing food that we have dropped.


The Fly

Life is hard when you're a fly --

We buzz around and then we die.

We have to live in dirt and grit

And make our meals from others' shit;

We'd rather eat what humans do,

But all we get is residue;

We don't eat much, we leave no mess,

No food will blanch from our caress;

We don't like garbage, don't like dirt --

It's just our little stomachs hurt.

And if you think police are bad,

Remember -- swat teams drive us mad.

Have pity on the humble fly --

We'll eat your carcass by and by.


Questions From a Little Boy

The fly, he lives his life in filth;

Why doesn't he get sick?

My mother scrubs me clean, and yet ...

O fly, what is your trick?

I cannot doubt what mother says --

She would my tenders flay;

But why can't I do now and then

What flies do every day?


But Do They Move More Feet Per Second?

Centipedes and millipedes

Are clearly not velocipedes.


What Do YOU Want?

The price some people pay to buy

Their blueblood dogs or cats

Contrasts with thousands forced to die

Which weren't aristocrats.

The lesson, then, from this must be

(Please use no epithet)

Some people want a pedigree

And others want a pet.


Reflection on the Purity of Purebreds

The ancestors

Are incestors.


Dogs Are People, Too

A cuddly little ball of fluff

That might have been a powder-puff --

He jumps right up into your lap

And then proceeds to take a nap;

He doesn't argue when you talk,

And really wouldn't mind a walk;

And if you chance to bring a ball,

A little game's not bad at all;

And any time the night is cold

He's in the bedding's inner fold;

No matter that you cannot sleep --

He's on your pillow in a heap;

At mealtime he's beneath your chair

To clean the floor with utmost care;

He'll bark like mad behind the door,

But -- bless the burglars -- not much more;

And tho his mischief leaves a mess,

A wagging tail cannot confess,

But says, instead, without ado,

"Remember, dogs are people, too."


A Little Rape

(With apologies to O. W. Holmes, Sr.)

(The author was a resident of Plymouth Hill Condominium, in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania when the following poem was written.)

Ay, tear those tender branches down!

Long have they waved on high,

And many an eye has danced to see

Those profiles in the sky;

Beneath them rang such happy shouts;

Above them birds did soar --

The trees across from Plymouth Hill

Shall sweep the clouds no more.

These trees, once green and full of life --

A home for nature's broods;

A soothing sight to travelers' eyes,

A lift for neighbors' moods --

Have now returned unto the earth,

Their limbs to lift no more,

To give to us -- for progress' sake --

A lighting fixtures store!

No matter that this long green line

Did on the lot's edge fall;

No matter that the lot was large

Or that the building small;

For what's a tree that it should stand

In asphalt's weary way?

And why protest a little rape

That happened yesterday?



By the fruit ye know the tree --

Plastic fruit is all I see.

Plastic fruit and plastic flowers;

Plastic birds in plastic bowers;

Plastic nipples, plastic toys,

Rearing plastic girls and boys;

Plastic dishes, plastic food,

TV dinners' plastic mood;

Plastic tooth and plastic hair,

Plastic eyeglass, plastic stare;

Plastic nose and plastic face;

Plastic form and plastic grace;

Plastic tubes and plastic pills --

Plastic doctors' plastic thrills;

Plastic eyelash, plastic breast;

Plastic love to be confessed;

Plastic record, plastic song;

Plastic heartbreak, loud and long;

Plastic filmstrip, plastic hero,

Hollywood the plastic zero;

Plastic Santa, plastic gift;

Solstice season's plastic lift;

Plastic church and plastic steeple;

Plastic saviour, plastic people;

Plastic coffin, plastic shroud,

Plastic teardrops from the crowd;

Plastic laughter, plastic crying;

Plastic living, plastic dying;

Smells of plastic in the air --

Plastic, plastic everywhere!


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