Animal Cruelty

*****Chick, Chick, Chick


Factory farm raised and led;
in the end, factory farm bled,
Rick, a chick, was yellow and red,
living in a cramped cage and fed.

“It’s Rick!” the little chick said
as his beaten head again bled.
He blinked his eyes instead
while they also turned red.

“I have my own name,”
said Rick, a little confined chick.
“It’s Rick! I’m not to blame
if humans don’t get the trick.”

In his beginning, Rick
was small, weak in frame,
not at all a worthy chick,
and unquestionably lame.

By feed and water and corn
little Rick the chick grew.
His keepers, never forlorn,
were a gleeful, chatty crew.

“I have my own name,”
said Rick, little unhappy chick.
“It’s Rick! I’m not to blame
if humans don’t get the trick.”

Rick wouldn’t squeak or squawk
about the abuse he endured,
never thought to talk about
relatives ever penned and secured.

Then came the stormy night
when Rick and others fled.
Stepping hard with great might,
they escaped, and many bled.

“I have my own name,”
said Rick, a little yellow chick.
“It’s Rick! I’m not to blame
if humans don’t get the trick.”

Of course, freedom couldn’t last
with many humans close behind.
Rick and others had a past;
hands around them did wind.

Now all’s quiet in the shed
where Rick and others bake,
for time’s not long ahead
’til humans come and take.

“I have my very own name,”
said Rick, little fenced-fed chick.
“It’s Rick! I’m not to blame
if humans don’t get the trick.”


Credit: Photo courtesy of



Living in the now


*****Nature’s Man-Made Disaster

In waters thick with sinking oil, black oblivion bows
Nature’s lovely creatures struggling to live in their now.
How has Man caused such sorrow?

The gorgeous Gulf Stream waters by Nature still glow,
but oil gushes by hours into their sacred flow.
How can it continue so?

Gallons of crude force the Pelicans and pretty birds
aloft; black-oiled, wet wings send them back to Earth.
How will they prevail?

Living in a midnight of oil, rescued Pelicans now
by day get a washing of Dawn soap, and how!
But will they see their tomorrow?

Oysters that used to be many for a living,
now sink to a murky grave, void of giving.
Can Man correct this wrong?

Shrimp float up from the water onto the Louisiana shore;
fish no longer breathing increase the deaths by many more.
Which can live in their now?

Watery creatures to watery, briney deaths continue to go.
Recovery, generations away, will never be better than slow.
How can Man claim no foul?

Can turtles swim in their now? Nor do oily birds usually rise.
Nor is it Nature’s true lot to exist in danger of Man’s lies.
The Gulf’s sad now remains still.

Nature’s Man-made scars over many years spontaneously heal;
feathered, shelled, finned souls grievously wronged can’t appeal.
Man, too, must live in his now.

No time now for Man to argue, name-call, and assign blame.
Cries from Nature’s own to live in their now remain lame,
unless Man reaches deeply to rise.


Poem and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

She and Me

***** She and Me


Humans love their dogs, it’s
true; mine was a caring child,
and I a Newfoundland mild.

In early months, I eagerly ran,
but her frailty halted play
in an overly vigorous way.

She was fanciful and sat alone,
plain, weak, but never dull.
At my side was she, just to mull.

I was larger and black, and
loved to run, fetch, and catch
even when she would shut the latch.

Left to run from the yard, where to?
She likely would fairly stew
if I chose to pass through.

Besides, where would I go?

Lying still, she seemed to contemplate
for hours; as I grew, I knew her ways
of hide and seek from very bad days.

A walk to her was reason to think
and pray. I would willingly go,
then we’d come back so very slow.

The sweetest personality, a smile,
She’d call, “Here, girl”, as my friend.
Every day I hoped we’d never end.

But I knew a twilight ever called;
that life was weak and small, and love
would wane through a whisper from above.

Something evil was amiss for her,
it seemed; let me not be afraid
before that time to come, I prayed.

Because where would I go?

So many nights now are very long;
she shivers and shudders an eye
while I ask myself faintly, “Why?”

When first we’d met, I admit
I roamed a dirty, sheltered cage
while she was free and thrice my age.

Soon it was clear as sun is to
the growing rose; after we’d met,
Newfie black, girlie white, we were set.

Days we’d walk and talk and play;
never in doubt with her low giggle
as I would do a shake and a wiggle.

I’d thought that first day to give her a whirl;
to be her Newfie in a lifetime borrowed!
Now I only hope she’ll wake upon the morrow.

Because where would I go?




Poem and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Broken Bones



We watch them farely glide
Across tracks of flying dirt.
Seldom do we really surmise
Any soon will be grievously hurt.

Reality’s lessons now should suffice,
Warn us all of the unending
Strife of their facts of life:
Their hearts ever will try, unbending.

Hoofs and hearts are buried here and there,
Signs of long bones broken short
Of the wire to which they tear
Without quit, neither hesitant snort.

Brave G.W., fillies Ruffian and Eight Belles
Misstepped, stumbled, stopped, went out
Before we were ready; it tells
That we still need to shout about

Thoroughbreds and their tenuous plight,
Creatures of training, however, frail
In their expected, difficult fight
To please while we pursue bragging tales.

Rewilding, too, died, and this for
England’s George VI and Queen Elizabeth
In the stakes of their royal lore.
He now is Heaven’s uplifted gift.

Sublime Barbaro, several years gone,
Never met the Preakness Stakes wire.
Slipping under foot, his last song;
His lasting legacy, never to sire.

Thoroughbred broken bones, our own woes;
We lead them to an unrelenting gate
To vanquish their contemporary foes
While we admire strength, mindless of cruel fates.

Ours, they proudly go, ready, able,
Prancing to the start, not knowing
Varied agendas upon owners’ tables.
Nickering they go, high-stepping, blowing.

Shall we stop the trend of bones
Broken as we send them to act
Out our own fantasies and tones?
Or finally, willing, face fatal facts?


Poem and Drawing from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

The Faces of Love


***** Love Is the Thing

Love is the thing,
the thing we are, or not.
It’s a fling, a ring, or
it’s dried ink and rot.

Just as Love can
raise you to the heights,
it can wreck you in a heartbeat.

Why are Love and expectations
so intertwined,
so far apart?

Best we leave them
to rightly seek their
own paths within humankind.

More powerful than a locomotive;
faster than a speeding bullet;
able to leap buildings in a single bound;
pressed to overcome all adversity.

It’s Super Love.

It’s unsinkable, though sometimes, unthinkable;
craved, yet at times a subject of such
utter, lonely, harsh remorse;
easily attainable, more easily lost.

It’s Super Love.


Poetry and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


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***** Oiled Pelicans

Man’s eternal pursuit of the mighty buck
in the stark midnight of oil’s imparted hour
has caused all of Nature to drown in muck.
An exploded rig departed from its bower.

Man’s fretful dilemma comes to mind
as the birds sway heavily to and fro,
and the upright animals only find
their friends of Nature cannot grow.

Pelicans in dangerous, dreadful woe
can find no single heroic master
of calamity, no champion, or foe
to change this, their multiple disaster.

As the Gulf Stream waters do flow,
circulating the Pelican young away,
their parents remain with an oiled glow.
Without wings, or recourse, they must stay.

When, alas, the rallied winds blow,
and the calm seas wildly rage,
will the birds, the Pelicans, go?
Will the young ones come of age?

Crabs, turtles, creatures who crawl
will long be doomed to fall,
while Man engages in a brawl
to set the blame to law.


Peom and photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Poem for Heady Dragonfuss: A Kite


***** Heady’s Flight

We thought we could: we thought
Fly a kite, yes, we definitely ought!

The kite, months ago bought, now unwrapped
Was a dragon’s head and small body entrapped.

Sun shining bright, wind whipping high
Made us declare, “Oh, let’s try!”

Into the car we three friends jammed
Amid packaged colors of kite closely crammed.

Kite’s crinkly crepe papers upon my lap piled;
Its yellows, greens, and blues remained undefiled.

Pam in front, Jane steering the quick miles,
While I in back, said, “Check this dragon’s style!”

We three were years since our younger lot,
Long since given past to marriage, kids, and pots.

Why now the cheering urge to fly and soar?
We knew, laughing, reciting unfulfilled family lore.

From car window to high sky our eyes fairly roamed;
We gasped, seeing the great white clouds like sea foam.

Car and pals rumbling to the flying field,
We were certain the sky and clouds would yield.

Could our bright dragon kite reach those heady heights?
A name, we hailed, for our object of potential flight!

“Heady!” Pam shouted, “for his wieldy head.”
And “Dragonfuss,” I said, “for the hassle if he goes dead!”

From the car onto the flying field we tangled,
Heady Dragonfuss among us, almost mangled.

Yards beyond the stone drive of the field of flight,
Heady’s wide, purple wings held folded tight.

We sprawled on the grass with parts of kite
Spread before us, a colorful, intimidating sight.

We assembled hooks and lines, labored with struts,
Tape, a silver reel, and a package of “What’s?”

Heady’s glaring eyes, black and round, were the parts
Of his design making us giggle: “Big as carts!”

Parts bonded, fastened, Heady was alive,
His mouth open, wings spread wide.

Eyes shaded against the sun and bright sky,
We ran, launching string to push Heady high.

Instead, crepe flew unfurled, a glassy eye popped, revealed
Pieces of Heady lying unassembled upon the field.

Dismay overcame mute surprise at knowing
Heady Dragonfuss’s parts all were showing.

Hooks and lines, wings of loose struts, all unreeled;
How could all Heady’s parts again become healed?

All the while, winds increased their mild gales.
We shouted, shifted, laughed like wild males.

Sitting upon the grass, silly over wings, struts, and glass eyes,
Bearing watching by arriving flyers more learned, wise,

We refastened struts, reeled in line: eyes wide
With childish wonder we soon thought to hide.

Heady was alive, blue and green and yellow,
Black eyes inserted, mouth open enough to bellow.

But would he fly? Ought we, really, to try and try?
Were we doomed to fleeting highs and long, sad cries?

Again, string to girder, plastic to multi-colored crepe;
Spirit and hope, not to cause Heady a faulty scrape.

Wind high, we cast Heady’s line up and off;
Gathered running strides, threw him aloft!

At each hearty launch, Heady failed to catch air,
twirling, twisting down; we called, “Don’t tear!”

Again and again, we tried; running, holding him high,
Until, collectively, we cried: “Dragonfusses cannot fly!”


Poem and Sketch from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg