High Desert Whale

Once in a high desert so hot, so dry,
A whale was lost; no ocean nearby.
He swam through sands, with heavy heart,
Longing for water, a new voyage to chart.

A seagull, named Jack, with sour tongue knife sharp,
Swooped next to the whale, listening to him harp.
“Ha!” said Jack, “What an ironic sight,
A whale in this scorched, waterless desert blight.”

The whale, mid-sigh, said “I miss the sea,
I miss what I once had: life wild, life free.”
But Jack, with double ha-ha, asked “Why moan?
You have a new chance, make this new life your own.”

The whale, ha-struck, looked around once more,
Saw the charm of the desert never noticed before.
The sun, it was golden; the sky, ‘lectric blue,
Finally finding a smile, whale knew what he should do.

He swam sandy streets, ‘till he found his new place,
In this high desert city, he could live with grace.

When we dwell on our wants, we get nowhere,
It’s time to grab treasures we can show off with flair.

Do you like this poem? Read about the whale that inspired this tale. You can even follow the whale on Twitter.


Master Crow, perched in a tree, 
Clutched cheese inside his beak. 
Master Fox, below, observed the sight, 
And to the bird did speak.

“Master Crow, good day to you. 
You’re such a gallant fowl.
More radiant than the Phoenix flame, 
You’re wiser than the owl”

“Please share with me, kind fellow 
The view from your high perch.
You have a broader vision
Than here below the birch.”

These words caused such tremendous joy; 
The crow commenced to speak.
But tumbled out the cherished cheese 
He clutched within his beak.

Fox darted on the ground below
To confiscate his prize
He hoodwinked from his friend on high 
By spouting lofty lies.

Like my poems, The Grasshopper and the Ant and Repurcussions, this poem was written for a collection of ELA emergency lesson plans called A Likely Story. I think I need to adapt more fables; I the time I spent doing that.

The Grasshopper and the Ant

The Grasshopper spent all summer long
Performing for friends her festive song.
When winter wind began to bite,
Not one humble morsel was within sight.
No beetle, no fly, no trifling grub;
Just famished, barren bellies for her to rub.

She wailed to the Ant concerning her mess,
Of encountering her cupboards with so much less
Than what her neighbor claimed for storage.
“Perhaps you can spare some of your forage,”
The Grasshopper invoked a meager handout.
“Just enough to outlast this wintry bout.”

The Ant was disinclined to be so charitable
And impart spare food from his bounteous table.
“You chirped all summer from morning to night;
Am I to nourish you in your blight?”
The Ant ordered his neighbor to go her way
And languish through what she brought to bay.

Author’s Note: I wrote this fable into a poem for a book of emergency lesson plans I helped compile with a teacher friend, Michelle Clark several years ago. What was surprising, after testing the lesson plan that accompanied this poem was the discussion students had about personal responsibility vs. charity. It was one of the happy accidents that resulted from this project.

You can get a copy of A Likely Story at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.