Lions and Panthers and Bears, O Wow!

In preparation for our work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and “Carnival of the Animals,” we practiced discussing and writing about animals. One of the more popular poems dealing with a specific animal is “The Panther,” by Rainer Maria Rilke. The poem is even featured in the film “Awakenings” staring Robing Williams and Robert DeNiro!

After reading and discussing the poem we took some time to discuss of the types of emotion the poem brings out in us and think of other types of zoo animals and try to consider what it is they experience on a daily basis. Check out some of the students work below!


Ms. Henley
9th Grade (7th Period)

Donnishia W.

It sees people
smells people
hears people
is sees groups up in the sky

It smells people
It smells animals
It smells food

It feels fur


Aleara S.

It feels it’s feet gripping the ground
as it walks around it’s cage,
over and over again while
passing by other cheetahs.

It smells the raw meat
as the wind blows
on a windy day
trees blowing.

Ms. Payne
10th Grade (8th Period)

My Pet Flamingos
Lakeisha V.

Flamingos, flamingos, flamingos
I see people walking in the zoo
yelling flamingos as they go
kids running with glee like it’s a free town.
Flamingos, flamingos, flamingos
I hear people talking,
animals crying and babies crying
but I’m just in the cage all sad and alone.

Flamingos, flamingos, flamingos
as kids touch me, I feel the softness
of the hand rub on my skin
like a brush, brushing beneath my hair,
the water goes through my skin as the shadow
passes right through me.


The King
Tavonte S.

He hears from a distance birds
chirping constantly so loud
for a moment he was stuck
until he heard movement in the grass.
To him there is something over there,
run, run and he runs over. No one.

As he runs in a maze
looking for his prey over and over
non-stop, he spotted a lake.
He was so exhausted he needed a drink.
He again began to run swiftly and more powerful,
he left energized and unstoppable.

Eventually the sun began to fade away,
the lion wanted to give up
but then movement in the grass.
With one huge humungous leap
and strength of his claws
he caught his prey.
With a roar his family came.

An image enters in, rushes through his head, bows his head and weeps.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.