Activists + > Authors > Poetry

What's In a Name -- Peter D. Wilson
Point of View --
Shel Silverstein
Achievements --
Filip Moerman
Let's Not Forget --
Sympathy --
Mohan Embar
A Farewell Prayer for Arnold the Tiger -- Elise Matthes
A Plea to Nature -- Marguerite Wegner
The Dominion of Man
-- Glynda L. Marcus
An Incredible Pet -- from ASPCA newsletter
Christmas --
Guila Manchester
At Christmas -- Guila Manchester
No More -- unknown
Shelter -- Mantra

Peter D. Wilson

In the name of progress
Jews were ejected from their homes and exterminated
Africans were stolen from their homeland and enslaved
Native Americans were pushed off their land and massacred
In the name of conservation
Feral animals are ejected from our homes and exterminated
Endangered species are stolen from their homeland and enslaved
Predators are pushed off the land and massacred
In the name of freedom
Dissenters were beaten into submission
Japanese Americans were imprisoned in concentration camps
Soldiers were trained to kill on command
In the name of entertainment
Orangs and elephants are beaten into submission
Dolphins and seals are imprisoned in sea aquariums
Dogs and roosters are taught to lust for blood
In the name of religion
Witches were burned at the stake
Infidels were tortured on the rack
Virgins were sacrificed on the altar
In the name of science
The bodies of pigs are inflicted with severe burns
The eyes of rabbits are filled with caustic chemicals
The eyelids of newborn monkeys are sewn shut
In the name of arrogance
Humans have put their desires over the needs of others
Crimes of cruelty have been perpetrated ad nauseum
Suffering has been inflicted against human and animal, alike

Shel Silverstein

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.
Sunday dinner isn't sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.
Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
Till I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view

Filip Moerman

My father just
proudly told me
about human achievements.

We achieved to kill
humans as beasts
and beasts as humans.

We found ways to destroy
the world so fast that
nature can not addapt.

We found ways to make people
live like plants, we found ways
to ignore important things

My poor dad
that is what we achieved,
we achieved ignorance.


Your "meat" comes from a creature who has met
A hideous and most untimely death
Nor is it seemly when upon your dish
Lie corpses of a murdered bird or fish.

One fleeting glimpse of any factory farm
Would make the vilest soul cry in alarm.
The chickens, cows and pigs - their lives obscene
Degraded to meat, milk and egg machines.

The cows, their fate sealed at the slaughter house,
Can hear their friends in front of them cry out.
If we pretend that of this they know not,
We grossly underestimate their lot.

The chickens, five crammed tightly to a cage
Oft peck their mates in frightened fits of rage.
The light which blinds these creatures night and day
Adds sin and cruelty to each egg they lay.

The male chicks not appealing to our taste,
Are tossed alive in bags to our great haste.
This writhing heap of bodies is no lie.
Eventually, they suffocate and die.

To better understand a dairy cow
Try picturing this horrid scene somehow:
You're pumped with drugs, you're pregnant and you hurt.
And then your child is robbed from you at birth.

She is no mere automaton, I say.
She mourns the loss of her child several days.
The farmers steal your milk from you and then
For profit's sake, they knock you up again.

The child, a girl will share her mother's fate
If he's a boy, he's off to the veal crate -
A squalid, filthy stall not two feet wide.
He ne'er sees light and cannot turn inside.

A pig's life is the cruellest life around.
The female lies immobile on the ground.
The males can sexually enter her at will.
Her infants suck her nipples through a grill.

Since they've no space, insanity prevails.
And normally, they'd bite each others tails.
For farmers, this would cause a profit drain.
So tails are yanked at birth with squeals of pain.

The more we hide from these injustices
The less we find we know what justice is.
We spare our cats and dogs from such "misuse",
So why allow the other cruel abuse?

These are no more automatons, I say.
They're feeling creatures tortured night and day.
By people who in numbness feel no more,
For use by us who in our haste, ignore!
Here is a cause that rests on naught but us
And though at first we kick and scream and fuss,
We find in time a wholeness that will last
Despite the horrors of our actions past.

Those of religion, here's a truth today.
In front of you. It will not go away.
This is your trial; if you should shut it out.
Then, say, what is religion all about?

Mohan Embar

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals -
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting -
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore -
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to heaven he flings -
I know why the caged bird sings!
Paul Laurence Dunbar(1872-1906)
son to two slaves who made it

1st verse:
Fight we shall and fight we must.
They're calling us, they're calling us.
From factory farms to high school labs,
They're screaming for their lives!

The fur ranches, the rodeos
The tuna nets, the hunters' bows.
It's got to stop, for goodness knows,
They're screaming for their lives!

They're maimed in product testing labs,
Their legs are gashed in leghold traps.
Some start as pets, get thrown in pounds,
Then seized and burned alive.

We are the cause of your distress.
And none of this will change unless
We try for you, we try for you
We try for you, we try.

2nd verse:
How can we be so unjust?
The name of progress hides our lust.
And billions yearly bite the dust
While screaming for their lives.

In habit lies our deadly sin,
Despite a voice that cries within:
"They're living creatures, just like us
"Yet screaming for their lives."

We salt the wounds of their sad plight
Proclaiming: "Humankind has rights.
"Let others not of this mold be
"Exploited bought and sold."

With habits that are so maligned,
Until the day we change our minds
You'll die for us, you'll die for us.
You'll die for us, you'll die.

3rd verse:
Fight we shall and fight we must.
They're calling us, they're calling us.
From trauma labs to puppy mills,
They're screaming for their lives!

And those of us who heed their cries
Can feel the tears in our own eyes
Of what they cannot verbalize
In screaming for their lives.

We see the worth in each of them,
So let us lend our voice to them.
We'll strive so that humanity
Will finally let them be.

Not bigger cages, empty ones.*
And we won't stop until we're done.
We'll fight for you, we'll fight for you.
We'll fight for you we'll fight.
*shouted, not sung.

by Elise Matthes, Sarasota In Defense of Animal

Oh Great Spirit of the Universe
We commend your creature, Arnold, back to you.
May he be granted the peace in death
That was denied him in life.
May his spirit in eternity be libertated --
With freedom to choose according to his own nature.
In death may he never recall the sting of a whip,
The scorching flames of a fire hoop,
Or the indignities of being a circus spectacle.
Grant also that we find it in our hearts
To forgive those who enslaved Arnold in life
Who themselves became victims of their own choices.
May we who mourn for Arnold today
Find solace in our mission to empty the cages --
To end the exploitation of captive wild animals.
May our sadness of saying good-bye to Arnold serve
As inspiration to liberate all of Arnold's tortured kin
Who are victims of human ignorance, arrogance and greed.
In Arnold's memory, we will not rest until ALL animal acts are abolished.We ask for nothing more. We accept nothing less

A Plea to Nature
Marguerite Wegner
I call on sun and wind and rain,
to put the Earth in order again.
I call on scientists to stop
genetically engineering the crops.
For those subjecting animals to hell,
to stop the slaughter houses as well,
and of people to multiply much less
to relieve the Earth of overpopulation stress.
For mankind to return the earth to a time
when peace and harmony reigned devine,
and greenhouse gasses were unknown,
as across the world mankind did roam.
If mother nature, you here my plea,
and return the bounties to the sea,
I will try to spread the word
that overfishing is absurd.
Please give us all a second chance,
and allow us your beauty to enhance
with human children born to know
to respect nature as they grow.

Glynda L. Marcus

Can you hear them?
Can you hear the caged cats crying,
Hear the netted dolphins' scream in dying,
Hear the scientists that are lying?
Can you hear them?

Can you see them?
When you close your eyes to pray,
Do images seem to stay
Of pigs' skin being burned away,
And goats shot by the Army each day?
Can you see them?

Can you smell them?
The puppies held in filthy pens,
The tuskless elephants left in the dust by men,
The slaughter house floor where once life had been?
Can you smell them?

Can you feel them?
When you touch your new coat of fox,
Can you feel the trap snap shut and lock?
When you pour the cleanser from the box,
Do you feel the singed eyes of the rabbit in the stock?
Can you feel them?

Can you imagine
What humans do to creatures every day,
The needless pain with which the helpless pay,
For a line in a book of God that some say,
Gives man the right to do whatever he may?
Can you imagine?

An Incredible Pet
Taken from ASPCA newsletter: ASPCA

Where to get an incredible Pet
I know exactly where to go if I want to get
One fabulous, terrific, and incredible pet.
With my parents in tow, I'll take a walk
Down to the local animal shelter for a little talk.

I'll talk to the cats and the dogs and the folks.
I'll recite and I'll sing and I'll tell lots of jokes.
Anything that might help me adopt a new friend,
A pet perfect for me, and to whom I will tend.
Each animal shelter has quite a few choices.
When I visit the dogs and cats, I'll hear their voices.

Something deep inside me will tell me which one
Will be my companion on a walk or a run.
And if I don't find the right pet for me.
Why, I'll come back another day - just wait and see!


The lighted window shows the room
so warm and softly glowing,
The tree so tall with twinkling lights
And all the presents showing.
While just outside a starving cat
Stands shivering in the cold,
And down the street a stray dog limps,
So tired and sick and old.

The baby monkey in the lab
The thing he thought was mother
Shot out quills when he drew near.
The car speeds by, the puppy cries
And drags her broken leg.
The beaver in the leghold trap
Lifts pain-filled eyes that beg.

How can we speak of peace on earth
And know these things are so,
And say they don't concern us
And we ought to let them go?
How can we think we have the right
To torture needlessly,
When all the time we know so well
It shouldn't have to be.

Come join with us at Christmas time
And pledge ourselves anew.
They need our help so badly,
There's so much that we can do.
Don't turn your back upon their pain
Because it's hard to see.
They have no other place to turn,
They've only you and me.


The card I send to you this year
Will not be thoughts of Christmas cheer
Or Santa riding in a sleigh
With loads of gifts to come your way.

A starving dog, a homeless cat,
A beaver lying in a trap,
A sparrow punctured in the eyes
To win some kid a science prize,
A horse that's trampled in a ditch
To make a movie baron rich,
A tiny baby left alone,
Old folks forgotten in a home.

If you believe in God at all,
Then love His creatures, great and small,
And help in any way you can
A suffering beast or bird or man.
If you believe these things are wrong
Then let this be your Christmas song
And raise your voice with all your might,
For only you can make them right.

No More

Meat eating  flesh eating  think about it
so callous to this crime we commit
always stuffing our face with no sympathy
what a selfish, hardened society so
No More
just looking out for myself
when the price paid is the life of something else,
No More
i won't participate 
we've got the power we've got the might
to take whatever is in sight
not even worried, it's an unfair fight
well we've got a heart to tell us what's right
our numbers are doubling in 88
cause the people are starting to educate
themselves their friends and their families
and we'll have a more conscious society

Mantra (1995)
Civilized Man

There's a war in the day no peace at night
There's blood on the hands of man yet we don't symathize
The meateater kills the cows they just depersonalize to justify
Their own lust as the helpless die
And it's ironic how we cry for world peace
But the violence won't decrease unless our murders cease
So understand in the slaughter-house who's the beast
And I demand that the innocent be released
Well I've tried the best I can
I've tried to understand
Civilized man so-called civilized man
Yes I've tried the best I can
But who can understand
Civilized man?
Guilt free so-called morality
The 4 foods group just western medicine quackery
(meat would be) $35 a pound but our taxes subsidize
As 35 million starve as we gormandize
The grains that could feed the world go to their industry
To fatten up the catle for death and I protest
Rain forests once here kiss goodbye the biosphere ozone nightmare
Just see the people don't even care!
Guilt free we overlooked the blood and brutality
And the TV propaganda covers heinous reality
A plea to the people of this land to do
What they can with hope for a civilized man

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