What could be better than a poem about a rabbit? From Beatrix Porter’s Peter Rabbit to Richard Adam’s Watership Down — rabbits are an important part of our culture heritage. There’s Bugs Bunny and there’s Br’er Rabbit—archetypal tricksters shaking the world up when we least expect it! There is so much room here for bunny ballads and cottontail couplets that we think ut’s time for us poets to get busy and to start writing more poems about rabbits. For now, we’ve only two, but we hope to add more in the future.
Rabbit Restoration, a poem
by Amant de Lapin
I didn’t know anything about rabbits—
When for the first time, I saw the two of you
huddled together in that corner, shuddering in fear—
It was so sad, and so pathetic, it struck a chord
deep inside me that I hadn’t known was there.
I’d rented out the old house—
the one where my husband and I had lived,
before he’d passed away and left me—
the rentees turned out to be a disaster,
never paying then rent, and when finally
I’d gotten them out of the house—
they’d left it in a savage condition!
The very air smelled foul,
and you couldn’t take a step
without fleas jumping up on to you,
cockroaches roamed fearlessly—
my entire childhood home, a wreck,
my experiment in renting, a failure.
Yet, as I wondered the house over,
I heard a strange scrapping noise,
this lead me to two scared rabbits—
trying their best to fade into the wall.
You were both so scrawny,
and you tried to bite me when I reached down;
I could see cigarette burns,
and then it was my turn to shudder.
With thick gloves, a box, and quick but careful hands,
I managed to catch you—then first, a trip to the local vet,
where I let him keep you over night,
while I worried and fretted—
in the mean time I went to the pet shop,
where if had to do with rabbits, I bought it,
rabbit hutches, rabbit hay, rabbit bedding,
even special healthy rabbit food—
I got on the fly lessons that I sorely needed
from an enthusiastic young girl
who seemed to know everything about rabbits.
When I picked you up from the vet,
you seemed even worse for the wear—
once home, as gentle as I could, I gave you a washing,
then I set you up a little indoor open hutch—
there was a litter box and food—
I gave you an entire room to yourselves—
the one that had been my husband’s study.
From then on, each day without fail,
I spent as much time as I could in that room,
just sitting on the floor,
either reading a book or listening to music
or watching the news on a small portable TV;
and without fail when I’d first come in,
you’d both hide in that hutch, terrified—
still fearful of all that they had done to you.
Then, I remember the first day,
it must have been a week or two,
when the first of you came out, to very coyly
take a look at me, and to hop around the room
always giving me my space, but so aware that I was there.
It wasn’t long after that,
when finally, one day, I found you there right beside me—
giving me gentle rabbit sniffs, and even a kiss or two.
As gently as I could, I reached down,
and as carefully as I could, I stroked you,
and you let me—
that day, you let me into your heart.
I can’t ever explain what happened at that moment,
I realized then, that since my husband’s death
I’d been clinging to something dark and empty,
and at that moment I finally found it in me to let it go
and to open my own heart anew.
My eyes welled up with tears that I’d been wanting to cry,
for so long,
and as they dripped, you stayed there comfortably
letting me pet you—I named you Seraph,
and your shy friend, Sprite.
Over the years,
how you both changed,
how you both blossomed,
how you both opened up to me—
What you’ll never understand,
is how it is you both saved me.
Rabbit Eyes, a poem
by Polly Morfuss
She looked as if
she believed it was going to be all right,
even if the worst were to happen.
The magician’s hat begins to attract things,
light things at first, napkins and loose brooches;
but soon hats and canes, then chairs and tables;
and finally people until there was no one left in the room,
not even the magician; and everyone finds themselves
in a world of rabbits.
She looked as if
she hid deep inside
and only pretended
not to be ashamed
of all that she’d been
and all that she’d be.
A rabbit with long ears
that flop in front of its eyes;
into chains of deoxyribonucleic acid
that spiral and twist back to a time
when none of us know any better.
She looked as if
she were the rabbit
that had stumbled upon the fox.
Ideas are like rabbits.
You get a couple and learn how to handle them,
and pretty soon you have a dozen.
— John Steinbeck