Poetry Friday–Found Poem-Eavesdropping prompt…

City Coyote, © 2022 Michelle Kogan, Pencil Drawing.

Happy Poetry Friday!

My poem today is inspired by the poetry prompt offered to us by the Poetry Sisters. They challenged us to write a poem from eavesdropping on another conversation. We were provided with some wonderful examples, and a handful in particular from Susan Thomsen at her blog Chicken Spaghetti. Thanks Susan, and thanks to all the Poetry Sisters, Laura, Tanita, Mary Lee, Kelly, Sara, Tricia, and Andi. You can find more of these poems marked #PoetryPals


Let’s talk about coyotes–
They look both ways before crossing streets
They’re flourishing and doing really well
They make such a good living in the city
They stay out of our way
You’d be surprised at how good they’re at hiding.

Let’s talk about coyotes–
We had a coyote who chose a shrub to sleep in just south of the zoo
We watched thousands of people all day jogging and walking around
never seeing the coyote who was five feet from them,
camouflaged in the bush
It’s amazing the amount of ecology,
the amount nature around us all the time.

Let’s talk about coyotes–
What is it that makes them stay away from us?
It’s a smart decision on their part
Nothing good happens from a coyote’s interacting with a human in the city
We’re not the source of their food
Cars are the major mortality factor for these urban coyotes.

Let’s talk about coyotes–
Everything about us is kinda bad,
except this city we built has resources for them,
has things they want to use,
it’s really quite rational for them
to try and keep away from us.

Let’s talk about coyotes–
This diverse population of animals here is important
Being around nature is good for people,
good for us emotionally, physically
Many of these species are providing us with services
Coyote’s maybe trying to help control our rabbit and squirrel population.

Let’s talk about coexistence–
It represents a deep philosophical change–
We thought of cities as this no-wildlife zone,
a place only for people—That never works!
There were always other animals in our cities.
We’re starting to understand, we get a lot of benefit from other species.

Let’s talk about coexistence–
It can be positive to live in a place
that has nature around us.
Coexistence can be a benefit
both for them
and for us.

Let’s talk about coexistence–
If you see an animal and it’s out in the city,
your first reaction is of surprise.
But I hope that from there we go to a place
of being happy about it,
about being excited to see these other species.

Let’s talk about coexistence–
To have that sense of awe you would have,
walking around in the woods
when you see a fox,
have that same sense of awe
walking down your street.

© 2022 Michelle Kogan

Found poem taken from Public Radio Station WBEZ Reset with Sasha-Ann Simons talking with
Seth Magle, Director, Urban Wildlife Institute, Lincoln Park Zoo 1-26-2022

Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Irene! Be sure to stop by and fill your palette with poetry.

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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19 Responses to Poetry Friday–Found Poem-Eavesdropping prompt…

  1. From coyotes to coexistence, awe is everything! Thank you! xo

  2. haitiruth says:

    I never thought of writing a found poem from a radio conversation – what a great idea! Did you use the transcript, or jot down words while you were listening? Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  3. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    This is wonderful, and I love the movement from coyotes to coexistence. Such a gorgeous call to awe and action.

  4. tee+d says:

    “Let’s talk about co-existence” is the best phrase EVER. And the coyote is a great, great example of such. I love how the line recurred, and the creativity of using a radio interview!

  5. Tabatha says:

    Love this, Michelle! What a great idea and topic!

  6. jama says:

    What an interesting challenge — eavesdropping for a good reason. 🙂 We’re having problems with coyotes in our neighborhood. Coexistence is a challenge. Your poem reminds me of Marilyn Singer’s book, Wild in the Streets. 🙂

  7. The gentle introduction to each stanza of your poem eases the reader into more thoughts to ponder. I think this works so effectively, Michelle. We don’t have coyotes in Australia, but other animals such as dingoes, possums and foxes are increasingly urbanized and many of the issues you have raised in your poem, apply equally. A thought-provoking poem indeed.

  8. I love this, Michelle. I have a picture book manuscript about urban wildlife that made the rounds and had some admirers but didn’t get taken. And I just this week picked it back up and started working on a shorter, younger version. I feel strongly about seeing the wild beauty wherever we are, even in the middle of a city or suburb. Thanks for highlighting this! I love your repetition of “Let’s talk about…” Oh, also–thank you for the beautiful postcard. Your tiger is stalking me from the shelf nearby. Even in my writing studio, I hear his footsteps!

  9. Linda Mitchell says:

    I think Laura is right–this is a manuscript. The repetition is really effective and the idea of not seeing what’s right in front of us is universal. Wonderful poem!

  10. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, what a topic and I love how you weave your poem from a radio podcast. When in NY people were all agitated that coyotes were invading Long Island after swimming across the Long Island Sound, Your point of coexistance is well-taken. “We thought of cities as this no-wildlife zone,” When one takes out the fear-factor, we may find coexistence an idea that benefits all, as you mentioned. Your artwork and call to action are such strengths of yours.

  11. maryleehahn says:

    I love the shift when your poem goes from talking about coyotes to talking about coexistence. My eyes almost missed the switch because the first part of the two words looks so similar! Powerful poem. Important message.

  12. That is a cool poem, Michelle! And what a beautiful shift from “coyotes” to “coexistence.” Thank you for the shout-out, too.

  13. margaretsmn says:

    “Let’s talk about” is a good line to repeat for a found poem. So much packed into this verse.

  14. Elisabeth says:

    This is fascinating! I feel like I learned so much, and I loved the repetition, and how the repeated line changed halfway through the poem. Thanks for sharing this today.

  15. janicescully says:

    Yes, humans are irrationally afraid of wild animals and this poem expresses the absurdity of thinking that suburbs are no-animal zones. We have this fox that prances through yards around my neighborhood, his fluffy tail in the air, and seems to know where he is headed.

  16. Laura Shovan says:

    That coyote hidden in the shrub, five feet away from all of the people moving about the city — that image sticks with me.

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