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Civilized Animals
Ryan Warren



The pigeon regarded me cordially
feathers the color of oiled asphalt,
red feet scratching the bright pavement
of the lunchtime plaza

politely, insistently requesting
a spare bit of my sandwich,
or a fry, to share
with him, and perhaps some for
the quiet rat lurking just out of view.
An appeal on behalf of our common bond,
as the civilized animals of the world. 


© by Ryan Warren.
Used with the author’s permission.


Ryan Warren lives with his family by the sea in Northern California, where they spend their time playing with the dog, taking naps, and looking under rocks. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals. Learn more about Ryan at


Post New Comment:
At my house the beggars are squirrels and blue jays, less polite than pigeons. Still we share, we share. Nice poem, Ryan.
Posted 10/21/2016 09:30 AM
Between the lines. Within the spaces. On many levels. This is a good teacher. Of our shared connections. Thanks, Ryan.
Posted 06/24/2016 10:33 AM
Sarah Russell:
Cyprus, where we recently vacationed, has thousands of feral cats. They, like the pigeon and the rat in Ryan's poem, are quite civilized. One large yellow tabby in an outdoor cafe gently patted my leg every so often, just to remind me that he was there and would enjoy another bite of my chicken. Love this poem and the reminder of others who live near us.
Posted 06/24/2016 10:15 AM
Lori Levy:
Love the way the pigeon is described.
Posted 06/24/2016 09:53 AM
Nice one, indeed. Keep looking under those rocks! :-)
Posted 06/24/2016 09:24 AM
Ross Kightly:
A more cynical view of that pairing might be that Rattus norvegicus is the unfairly maligned one and the Skyrat, scourge of our local open spaces, is the true villain of the piece. Or, as the poem aptly suggests, we had better get used to the fact that nobody in the country where I live is ever more than a few yards away from a rat. Successful, beastie. (Love the poem, by the way.)
Posted 06/24/2016 04:26 AM

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