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25 April, 2017: Ariel


by Frank Paino
Shelley is reading Keats.  He imagines
“dove-footed” Hermes on the coast of Leghorn,
his movement so swift only his toes brush
the hot sand.  It’s early afternoon
but looks more like twilight.  Thunderheads
obscure Italian sun.
Ariel slices Ligurian waves,
two tons of iron ballast holding her steady.
Williams mutters about the weather, his eyes
fixed on the taut canvas.  He worries
about the wind which drives hard
from the southwest, how the ship leans leeward.
Shelley is unconcerned.  He sinks into reverie
while the salty air fills his lungs
and he sleeps.  When the squalls begin
he rises, folds back the pages of his book
and places it in his breast pocket.
Williams has torn off his jacket, one boot.
He’s cursing the storm as he prepares to swim.
Shelley cannot swim.  He is not afraid.
As the boat takes on water he wishes,
but only for an instant, that he had wings
at his feet to carry him over the dark surface.
“Ariel” by Frank Paino, from The Rapture of Matter. Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1991. Used by permission of the author.
Frank Paino holds a BA in English from Baldwin Wallace University and an MFA in writing from Vermont College. His poems have appeared in a variety of literary publications, including The Gettysburg Review, North American Review, and World Literature Today. His first two volumes of poetry were published by Cleveland State University Press. He has received a number of awards, including a Pushcart Prize, the Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature, and a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. His poem ”Skeleton Lake” was selected as the winner of the 2016 Crab Orchard Review Special Feature Award.


Write a poem on the song of a bird or the sound of any animal. If you need inspiration, listen at Animal Sound Recordings, where you will find, among others, the songs of the edible frog and the fire-bellied toad.

Hear Him Roar

Mighty beast, a mane so golden-yellow,
From deep in the night, hear him bellow.
That wondrous roaring sound so strong,
Earth and sea tremble and shake with his song.

A thunderous rumble, like a thousand drumbeats,
Warns others he is near and they take to their feet.
Birds hear this resound and take to the wing.
And he is left with his land, that is why he is king.
4/28/2017 12:28:36 PM

Heard on the farm
and on SNL
Eats anything
Makes great milk and cheese

Oh, trusty goat
Now the CAP it
4/26/2017 8:57:57 PM

Jan C.
Cheeto Bird 

Compared to its demure English cousin,  
Our robin is a bloated, bullying bird. 
It stomps on the new grass with an aggressive hop, 
Grabbing desperate worms, lured out by the rain. 
Then tipping back its thick neck  
To gobble down its meal. 
This bird has no manners, whatsoever. 
Even its call is American: 
Cheeto! Cheeto!
4/26/2017 9:45:35 AM

Chantelle Brady
The Call of the Wild

What is that noise?
Is it a clicking?
but it kind of hums too
it is quiet and soft
The noise is right next to me;
what do I do?
It sounds alive!
maybe bug-like
Look at it?
Okay...take a breath...
Turn your head slowly...
I see a black and white
wild animal in my room
What is it?!?... Could it be...
A skunk?!?...

It's my cat, Suzy
she's chittering at the birds
talking to them
even though they don't
hear her or respond to her
Is she imitating them?
I see her whiskers moving
they kind of shake
while she does a kind of
open mouthed purr?
She kind of
meows into it too
I don't know what to call it,
but I know she's
calling to the wild.
4/25/2017 4:11:15 PM

To imagine Ariel...
and the final moments of the great poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley...
Thank you for this fabulous poem!
4/25/2017 3:01:48 PM

N. K. Hasen
Hunting Song of the Wolf

The alpha wolf howls a note
“Come gather my pack, for tonight we hunt”
They gather around their leader
Even pups come out to join
He lifts his head again
Howls the start of the hunting song
Mournful, sorrowful howl
For the prey they will bring down
Rest of adults join in giving praise
For the prey they will bring down
Their notes intertwine as one singing choir
Thanking nature which they hope
Will give them a successful hunt
Last to join are pups to small to hunt
They try to match their pitch
Theirs are short coming in and going
Then hunting song is done
Now the hunt can begun
Off they go in the night
One last howl in the early moonlight
4/25/2017 11:19:52 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.