Bruce Bennett


A tiny bunny, trembling in its hutch,
missing its mother, absent who knows where,
lisped to itself: "Does anybody care?
I'm all alone. It may not matter much, 

I guess, but oh! I hunger for a touch
of fur, the warmth and smell of Mama there
beside me, nuzzling, calming me. The air
is full of threats. I fear the Shadows' clutch!"

The world's a menace when you're small and weak.
Say what you will, it's hard to fool the meek.


The egret stalks on stick-like legs. He wishes
to keep his brisk appointments with the fishes
who frisk about beneath, oblivious of
the steel-willed, sharp-eyed god who prowls above. 

Enjoy yourself. You won't know when or why
a beak descends and plucks you to the sky.


A beta fish, in fighting trim,
challenged the glass reflecting him:
"I dare you! Come, invade my space.
By God, I'll put you in your place!"

Aggression, bred in brain and bone,
compels some folks to live alone. 


A snapping turtle, angry as a slap,
lashed out. "I'm mad! The world is full of crap!"
"It is," his milder cousin, Mud, replied.
"But one can still be beautiful inside."

We're what we are; it's Fate that made us so.
You sun yourself, or break somebody’s toe.


A busy sparrow twittered to a friend
about a bit of gossip he had heard
which, though he couldn't believe it of the bird
and certainly had no wish to offend

Because, of course, the whole thing was absurd,
still, after all, who knew where it would end,
since once the news is out, you can depend
upon it, everybody has the word.

Don't think, because a story isn't true,
the town won't know before it gets to you. 


"I’ve heard that song before," a she-bird twittered.
"It’s stale. Old news. Last week. You gotta to try
some new thing on me, Baby." Then she fluttered
onto a separate branch. When by and by
he sang again, his song came out so altered
that it was less a love song than a cry. 

Whether or not it's cruel by intent,
disfavor will turn love songs to lament.


A vine was angry with a tree
and fumed: "Look what you've done to me! 

By dying you have spoiled our game.
I thought we shared a single aim 

And clung together fast as friends.
Such selfishness is where it ends!"

It's hard to feel the treatment just
when those we kill betray our trust.  


"You’re pussy-whipped!" a tomcat jeered.
"Not me," another said.
"It's you who gets those claws," he sneered.
"I've seen your ears and head. 

I've seen your nose, sliced like a beet
by one you call your mouse."
Just then a yowl alarmed the street
and terrified the house

They crouched in front of. "Gotta go,"
the second, cringing, purred.
"See ya," the first responded low,
as if to not be heard. 

It's easy for males to hold their ground
with boasts – if she is not around.


A beetle toiling over earth
to push its ball from here to there
was teased and taunted. "What's the worth"
cried other bugs, "of all that care 

And effort when there’s no reward?
Besides, you’re lonely and you smell."
The beetle, calmly self-assured,
replied, "But don’t I do it well?"

What seemingly holds no attraction
can yield enormous satisfaction.  


The bull who roamed the fields, a prize,
now lies a bone beside the door
contended for by filthy flies.
The dog he chased sprawls on the floor,
full-fed, contented. Soon he'll rise,
and thump his tail, and beg for more.

Preeminence, rampant at the full,
's illusory, just so much bull.

Bruce Bennett is the author of seven books of poetry and more than twenty poetry chapbooks. His most recent chapbooks are Coyote's Interlude With Little Miss Darling (FootHills Publishing, 2006) and Examined Life (Scienter, 2006). These rhymed fables are part of a full-length, unpublished manuscript of such poems entitled Ephemerae. Bruce Bennett teaches literature and creative writing at Wells College, where he is Professor and Chair of English and Director of Creative Writing.



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Kate Bernadette Benedict

Bruce Bennett

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