The Monday Poems Go on the Prowl.

Monday Poems

A number of years ago, I attended a poetry retreat. The assignment was to write a poem about a small object we had brought with us. I stared at the origami boat my daughter folded for me. She said it was an imaginary vessel that could take me places where I could write fantastic stories and poetry. I rested the tiny boat on the palm of my hand and didn’t know where to begin my writing.

One of the instructors sat beside me and shared a secret. “Before you can write a poem, you need to ask yourself one question… What do you want to say?

What did I want to say about the folded, paper boat? What did I hope to accomplish with my poem? Did I want to draw a comparison to a real boat? Take my reader on a fantastic journey? Write about origami? Or did I want to reveal what my daughter’s gift meant to me? In knowing what I wanted to say, I also needed to know the destination of my poem… What thought did I hope to leave the reader contemplating? Did I know who my audience was? (That’s a big one, by the way.) If this poem was intended for children or adults, I needed to consider what questions each age group might have about my chosen subject. What could I say to delight and/or inform? What words should I use that my chosen age group would understand and relate to? What last stanza or last line could I write to bring a smile, evoke laughter, or stun the reader with through an unexpected revelation or twist?

Today’s poem isn’t about that little boat. My Monday poem ties into my book review from last Friday, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.

I thought about the ways I view the tiger and realized my thoughts about this magnificent animal have been shaped by its portrayal in literature and films. Was that all I hoped to express? Or were there other thoughts I wanted to include?

tiger leaning on brown tree branch

Photo by A Rama Krishna on


A flash of fire in the Mangrove woods,

striped in ashen-black.

Courage, strength, and stealth are not

qualities you lack.

Your crescent claws and iron jaws

are prized within your treasury.

Behold the jungle warrior’s wealth:

his sharp and deadly weaponry.

The rhythm pulsing through your veins

thrums like a beating drum.

Prowling while anticipating

what fine prey may come.

Beyond your fearless nature,

your heart knows how to weep.

When, at last, you’re craving rest,

even a tiger beds down to sleep.


By Leslie Leibhardt Goodman


Until next Friday. Be well.

9 thoughts on “The Monday Poems Go on the Prowl.

  1. Leslie, this poem is very engaging. I am wondering about the age of your intended audience.

    I have written a series of environmentally-themed books, Hanging Out with Wild Animals I-III, marketing them for ages eight to twelve, although I always suspected adults might like many of them too. I have been posting some poems from them on my blog, and have gotten positive responses from adults.

    Your poem, Tiger, seems simple enough for children to enjoy, but I suspect it appeals to older readers too. What are your thoughts on this?

    All the best, Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very perceptive.:) Many of the poems I write are intended for children and have been published in the Cricket group of magazines as well as Highlight’s various magazines. I wrote this poem with the intention of appealing to older children (12 and up) to adults. I enjoyed the research portion of the writing process for this poem. I always learn so many fun facts to share with my family at the dinner table. By the time I get to my second “Did you know…?” fact about an animal, my daughter asks when she can listen to the poem I’m working on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Leslie, my animal poems are written about personal observations of Florida animals but are also pretty thoroughly researched. Like you, I enjoy learning more about the animals I have observed. There is a “Did you know” section on my website about each of the books. I think it’s quite a tribute to you that your daughter is anxious to listen to your poems.

        Liked by 1 person

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