Animals Poems

In these poems about animals, readers will find writing about the loss of beloved pets, the role animals play in our everyday lives, and more. These poems also look at the beauty and importance of wild animals from a variety of different perspectives.

To a Mouse

by Robert Burns

‘To a Mouse’ by Robert Burns describes the unfortunate situation of a mouse whose home was destroyed by the winter winds. 

‘To a Mouse’ is an incredibly famous and well-loved animal poem that’s written in traditional Scottish dialect. It describes the fate of a tiny field mouse that the speaker accidentally killed with his plow. As a whole, the poem reflects on the cruelty of humankind.

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,

O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

          Wi’ bickerin brattle!

The Eagle

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

‘The Eagle’ is a powerful poem that captures the majesty and strength of the majestic bird, inspiring readers to reach for the heights of their own potential.

Tennyson’s ‘The Eagle’ is a short, image-filled poem that celebrates the strength and majesty of an eagle. It depicts an eagle soaring through the sky, ready to dive down and scoop up its chosen prey. It’s only six lines long but is an incredibly effective animal poem.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands; 

Close to the sun in lonely lands, 

Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The Fish

by Elizabeth Bishop

‘The Fish’ by Elizabeth Bishop is considered to be one of her best poems. In it, readers can find some clues about her personal life.

‘The Fish’ is without a doubt one of Elizabeth Bishop's best poems and one of the greatest animal poems ever written. It describes a speaker’s conflicting emotions after catching an extremely large, scarred fish. She notes the "five old pieces of fishing line" hanging out of the fish's mouth and decides to release it.

I caught a tremendous fish

and held him beside the boat

half out of water, with my hook

fast in a corner of his mouth.

He didn't fight.

The Swan

by John Gould Fletcher

‘The Swan’ by John Gould Fletcher describes the movements of a swan within a body of water and a speaker’s desire to escape his life. 

‘The Swan’ depicts the movements of a swan on a body of water while alluding to the speaker’s desire to escape the realities of his life and experience something new. The speaker admits that he wishes he could join this one on its unique journey rather than continue living his own life.

Under a wall of bronze,

Where beeches dip and trail

Their branches in the water;

With red-tipped head and wings—

The Tyger

by William Blake

‘The Tyger’ is a well-known poem by William Blake. It explores the dark and destructive side of God and his creation.

‘The Tyger’ by William Blake is one of the best-known animal poems ever written. It uses the image of a tiger to question the existence of God and if a God does exist, what their intentions are for humankind. Surely, Blake asks, the same God who made the tiger couldn’t have made the lamb?

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


by Lawrence Ferlinghetti 
‘Dog’ is a moving poem about spirituality and free will. The poem asks readers to consider the independent lives and desires of all beings, including dogs. The poet spends a great deal of time in this text conveying a dog's unique perspective on the world.

The dog trots freely in the street

and sees reality

and the things he sees

The Badger

by John Clare
‘The Badger’ is a popular animal poem written in heroic couplets. The poem is about animal cruelty, specifically, badger baiting. It speaks about the horrors of the practice, alluding to the speaker’s belief that it should be outlawed.

When midnight comes a host of dogs and men

Go out and track the badger to his den,

And put a sack within the hole, and lie

Till the old grunting badger passes by.

The Crocodile

by Lewis Carroll
This is a short, memorable poem that was included in ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’ The poem describes a smiling crocodile who sneakily attracts and swallows fish. The creature uses deception and cunning and is cleverly personified by Carroll.

How doth the little crocodile

     Improve his shining tail,

And pour the waters of the Nile

     On every golden scale!

At Grass

by Philip Larkin

‘At Grass’ by Philip Larkin is a poem about fame and happiness. It focuses on racehorses and how they found new homes away from their previous lives.

‘At Grass’ is a poem that is as much about horses as it is about the conflicting nature of fame and happiness. The poet speaks about the fate of two famous racehorses who found a new home in a far happier pasture. It alludes to the fact that fame and happiness rarely work hand-in-hand.

The eye can hardly pick them out

From the cold shade they shelter in,

Till wind distresses tail and mane;

Then one crops grass, and moves about

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

by Edward Lear
‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat’ is a children's poem by Edward Lear. It is a wonderful nonsense poem that is ranked among Lear’s best works. It depicts a unique marriage story between an owl and a cat as they profess their love for one another.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

Explore more poems about Animals

The Sheep Child

by James Dickey

‘The Sheep Child’ by James L. Dickey is a surprising and memorable poem that describes a half-sheep, half-human child that frightens the local farm boys into controlling their sexual lust. 

Animals and their lives and rights are one of the most important topics of the poem. The animals on farms are sometimes taken advantage of, this poem implies, and the idea of the sheep child scares young farm boys off the idea.

Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter

by John Clare

‘Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter’ by John Clare is a beautiful nature poem that describes a specific area in Northamptonshire in winter. The poem focuses on plants and birds. 

Animals and the lively types of creatures one can find in nature (even during winter) is an important part of this text. It's easy to see how interesting this landscape could be, especially when one takes the time to investigate its various parts.

Hiawatha’s Childhood

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘Hiawatha’s Childhood’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow describes how the protagonist of ‘The Song of Hiawatha’ grew up and learned about his surroundings. It also focuses on the life of his grandmother.

Hiawatha has a passion for the animals in his natural environment that his grandmother inspired during his first years of life. He learns all about them and even calls them his "brothers."


by Hilda Doolittle

‘Circe’ by Hilda Doolittle is a poem that gives voice to Circe, a goddess and master of magical enchantments. Despite her power, she laments that she cannot control love.

Circe's main function in ancient stories was to turn foolhardy and aggressive men into animals that represented their biggest flaws. On her island in this poem are panthers, leopards, and a dog. These animal manifestations of men imply that, when humans, they were predatory hunters who were capable of killing people.


by Frederick William Harvey

‘Ducks’ by F.W. Harvey is a charming and interesting poem about the movements and lives of ducks. It looks at their humorous and calming features.

One of the main messages of this poem is that animals, even the smallest and most common, can entertain and uplight people in their darkest moments. Nature, generally, is a fantastic escape from the world's troubles.

Behaving Like a Jew

by Gerald Stern

‘Behaving Like a Jew’ by Gerald Stern is a lyric poem with elements of an elegy. It includes poet’s understanding of how suffering and death should be approached.

The speaker has an incredible amount of sympathy for the opossum. This sympathy is what sets him and other Jewish people apart from everyone else. No one else would take the time to move the creature's body and try to understand its life.

The Barefoot Boy

by John Greenleaf Whittier

‘The Barefoot Boy’ by John Greenleaf Whittier is a highly relatable poem that speaks on universal themes of aging and the beauty and joy of youth. The poem celebrates a young boy’s freedom and mourns the coming of age. 

The speaker cites the plants and animals in this poem as the source of the young boy's knowledge. He has no time for books or learning. Instead, he has discovered everything there is to know about the natural world.

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!

by William Shakespeare

‘How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!’ by William Shakespeare is an excerpt from The Merchant of Venice, a famous Shakespearean play. The lines are found in Act V Scene 1 and are spoken by Lorenzo.

Animals are one of the minor topics in this piece. The poet notes that all living things have felt the influence of music and have been calmed or soothed by it.

A Dream

by William Blake

‘A Dream’ by William Blake paints a compassionate and thoughtful picture of the natural world through the personified story of an ant.

A little Dog that wags his tail

by Emily Dickinson

In ‘A little Dog that wags his tail’ Emily Dickinson explores themes of human nature, the purpose of life, and freedom. She compares animals, cats and dogs, to adults and children.

A Murmur in the Trees— to note

by Emily Dickinson

‘A Murmur in the Trees— to note’ by Emily Dickinson is a poem about nature’s magic. It includes mysterious images of fairy men, glowing lights in the woods, and the murmuring of trees. 

A Sheep Fair

by Thomas Hardy

‘A Sheep Fair’ is a solemn look at one day of country life, at the autumn fair, as sheep, the auctioneer, and the buyers contend with torrential rain.

A Wise Old Owl

by Anonymous

‘A Wise Old Owl’ is an English nursery rhyme. It depicts the qualities an owl has that make him wise and worthy of admiration.


by A. E. Stallings

‘Actaeon’ by A. E. Stallings is based on the captivating mythological story of Actaeon and is told from the perspective of a speaker who taunts the main character for how he lost his life.

After Rain

by Segun Adekoya

‘After Rain’ describes the impact of extreme heat on a townat the end of a rainstorm, and the different ways that people and animal react. 

Afternoon with Irish Cows

by Billy Collins

‘Afternoon with Irish Cows’ describes one speaker’s presumptions about the interior lives of cows and the power that sound has over human understanding.

Alice the Camel

by Anonymous

‘Alice the Camel’ is a fun nursery rhyme and counting song. It describes Alice the camel and depicts her losing humps through the six stanzas until a surprising punchline ends the song. 

Animal Crackers

by Richard de Zoysa

‘Animal Crackers’ by Richard de Zoysa describes the political situation in Sir Lanka through the drawing of symbolic animals. 

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