Poetry on the living beings is not a newer thing, many poets have used them majestically in their ink. In fables animals have been used as protagonists in an anthropomorphic shell, they have been conveyors of moral elements. Poetry is not alienated from them and Organism poetry has been written widespread. From a critical point of view, we can say every human being has traces of animal identity, especially if it could be seen on a more lighted canvas, after the discoveries of Darwin. If poetry emerges out of the subconscious zone then how one can ignore the genetic code sketching the Sigmund Freud world. Animals as simile and metaphors have weaved both the conventional and free verse.
A few examples of organism poetry are following
William Blake –Tiger Tiger
T S Eliot –Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
In the Recent era Ted Hughes has revived animal poetry, his work is remarkable due to the excessive use of animal imagery. He is called an animal poet. In most of his poems the theme of violence is also present along with animals. I think violence and animals both could be portrayed together successfully because both are considered primitive in the development of the human race.
Recently I read an animal poem by Scottish poet Norman MacCaige which is included in the complete collection of Norman MacCaige. It is edited by Poet’s son Ewen McCaige, splendidly published by Polygon. MacCaige was a lover of things and animals. In his own words, he says “ the difference between my animal poems and Ted Hughes animal poems is that mine come out of affection.”
Love gives entry into nature and it helps in depicting the real self of a loving object. MacCaige loved the movement of creatures and grasses, anything. In the following poem it could be seen how beautifully he has described the movement of frogs.
My last word on frogs
People have said to me, You seem to like frogs.
They keep jumping into your poems.
I do. I love the way they sit
compact as a cat and as indifferent
to everything but style, like a lady remembering
to keep her knees together. And I love
the elegant way they jump and
the inelegant way they land.
I feel so close to them
I must be froggish myself.
I look in the mirror expecting to see
a fairy-tale Prince.
But no. It’s just sprawling me,
and swiveling my eyes around
for the stealthy heron and his stabbing beak.
MacCaig says “I am not a static writer despite of these snapshots”
Dr. Pragya Suman