These original poems describe in a manner at once allusive and concrete a number of common animals. The creatures in Mr. Merrill's bestiary reflect upon the world and their places in it. They speak of their fears, conceits, triumphs, and disappointments.
Mr. Merrill speaks of the raccoon, who "Teaches its foolish children... To know they take communion / When they wash their food in water"; of the mole, "I am not sure that I have eyes, / But I have never wept"; of the stallion, "Who hates with lifted head."
He records the firefly -- "I was wiped into a comet / Across the face of childhood"; the nighthawk -- "I weave sunset fabric / Out of thunderheads"; the moth -- "I don't know why I love / Dim light..."; and the crow -- "The other birds are idiots."
This volume is not, however, a random collection of animal poems; rather it presents the reflections of 28 separate personalities, which merge into a single statement. Each of the animals represented in these poems is handsomely illustrated in an original line and wash drawing by Robert James Foose, a well-known Kentucky artist.