The Bat Poet Page



For My Mother, who used to read me a book entitled The Bat Poet by Randall Jarrell


Did you know that Tennyson wrote about bats ?

From Mariana :

After the flitting of the bats, 
      When thickest dark did trance the sky, 
      She drew her casement-curtain by, 
And glanced athwart the glooming flats. 
      She only said, "My life is dreary, 
            He cometh not," she said;
      She said, "I am aweary, aweary, 
            I would that I were dead!"
From "Come into the Garden, Maud"
Come into the garden, Maud, 
      For the black bat, Night, has flown, 
Come into the garden, Maud, 
      I am here at the gate alone; 
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, 
      And the musk of the roses blown.

And this from "In Memoriam"
And Bats flew round in fragrant skys
and wheel'd or lit the flimsy shapes
that haunt the dusk; with ermine capes
and wooly breasts, and beaded eyes.

The following poems were sent to me by Dr Dean Waters

One of the few poems to ever get into 'Nature' and is by J. D. Pye.
It's actually about moth ears and bat echolocation

In days of old and insects bold
(Before bats were invented),
No sonar cries disturbed the skies-
Moths flew uninstrumented.

The Eocene brought mammals mean
And bats began to sing;
Their food they found by ultrasound
And chased it on the wing.
Now deafness was unsafe because
The loud high-pitched vibration
Came in advance and gave a chance
To beat echolocation.

Some found a place on wings of lace
To make an ear in haste;
Some thought it best upon the chest
And some below the waist.

Then Roeder's key upon the breeze
Made Sphingids show their paces.
He found the ear by which they hear
In palps upon their faces.
Of all unlikely places!

Next is verses 2 and 3 from Nick and the Candelstick by Sylvia Plath.

The earthen womb
Exudes from its dead boredom.
Black bat airs

Wrap me, raggy shawls,
Cold homicides.
They weld to me like plums.

Shakespeare mentioned bats in The Tempest

Enter Caliban, upstage.

Cal: This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!

I picked this off of the Batline...

The following appeared in the April 15, 1996 issue 
(Vol. LXXII, No. 8) of  THE
NEW YORKER magazine:

The Fruit Bat

Because the air has darkened
like bruised fruit, you creep
down the bare branch

where you slept all light long,
gathered into yourself like a fig.
Little mandarin woman fleeing

under the stars on bound feet,
when your wings spring open
even you look surprised.

What are the raven's slick feathers
beside these pewter sails
raised in the foundry of your flesh,

burnished by light poured
from a wasted moon and a dipper
brimming with darkness?
       ----NANCY WILLARD

Here's another off of the Batline...


From caves and hollows , they begin to unfold.
They are the first buds of spring.

As these tiny bulbs of fur free
themselves of the last crystals of ice,
the emergence begins.

Want for energy,
the awakening triggers the revival of the heart,
full veins warm the skin,
and the old motives resurface upon the brain.

The eyes become alert.
The fingers spread and give hint to wing.
Suddenly there are two dark petals,
and the cold winter of sleep is let go,

in exchange
for the blossom

of a long awaited flight.

Rob Dunn
Kalamazoo College

Sharon Lawrence sent me this poem by Emily Dickinson


The bat is dun with wrinkled wings
Like fallow article,
And not a song pervades his lips,
Or none perceptible.

His small umbrella, quaintly halved,
Describing in the air
An arc alike inscrutable, -
Elate philosopher!

Deputed from what firmament
Of what astute abode,
Empowered with what malevolence
Auspiciously withheld.

To his adroit Creator
Ascribe no less the praise;
Beneficent, believe me,
His eccentricities.

Thanks to Michele Deniken for sending me this poem from 
The Bat Poet by Randall Jarrell

A Bat Is Born

A bat is born
Naked and blind and pale
His mother makes a pocket of her tail
And catches him. He clings
to her long fur
By his thumbs and toes and teeth.
And then the mother dances through the night
Doubling and looping,
Soaring, somersaulting-
Her baby hangs on
All night, in happiness,
She hunts and flies.
Her high sharp cries
Like shining needlepoints of sound
Go out into the night and
echoing back,
Tell her what they have touched.
She hears how far it is,
how big it is,
which way it's going:
She lives by hearing.
The mother eats the moths and gnats
she catches
In full flight, In full flight.
The mother drinks the water of the pond,
She skims across,
Her baby hangs on tight.
Her baby drinks the milk she makes him.
In moonlight or starlight,
In midair
Their single shadow,
printed on the moon
Or fluttering across the stars,
Whirls on all night.
At daybreak,
the tired mother flas home to her rafter
The others are all there.
They hang themselves up by their toes,
They wrap themselves in their brown wings.
Bunched upside down, they sleep in air.
Their sharp ears,
Their sharp teeth
Their quick sharp faces
Are dull and slow and mild.
All the bright day, as the mother sleeps,
She folds her wings about her sleeping child.

Here's a poem sent to me by Chip Gue

-for the Bats:

Drink the blood: for the grieving
-till heads hit stone.
Fly over the columns
             straight in a row

defeat us to enrich us

Save the worm from Mother Earth.

color our sky.....blind-
to save our glory.

Take us with you:the earth's too still
all warmth below just melts within

within   the

T C Gue

Here's an excerpt from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol


Down the Rabbit-Hole

Down, down, down.  There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon
began talking again.  Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I
should think!'  (Dinah was the cat.)  `I hope they'll remember
her saucer of milk at tea-time.  Dinah my dear!  I wish you were
down here with me!  There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but
you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know.
But do cats eat bats, I wonder?'  And here Alice began to get
rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of
way, `Do cats eat bats?  Do cats eat bats?' and sometimes, `Do
bats eat cats?' for, you see, as she couldn't answer either
question, it didn't much matter which way she put it.  She felt
that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she
was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very
earnestly, `Now, Dinah, tell me the truth:  did you ever eat a
bat?' when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of
sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.

The Bat by Nicole Pawlucki

The sun had set when they began their flight,
        Within a darkened cave they'd grown more bold.
A cloud of bats erupts into the night,
        Their leath'ry wings now lick the air so cold.
Dispersing now, they go their sep'rate ways.
        Emerging crecent moon now sets the mood.
A smaller bat heads easteard through the haze,
        Towards a house in search of moths for food.
Why do your human brothers fear you so?
        You killed and ate their pests this starry night.
You're lovely, as your flight did clearly show;
        Your silver wings did pull the air so tight.
        In spite of those who wish to see you die,
        You'll rise again when darkness tints the sky.

My Batty Friend by Rich Hilbert

I think that I shall never see
A think so lovely as a bat.
I like to have them land on me.
Now, what do you think of that?

I had a young brown bat named gus.
Over food, he'd make a fuss.
It really made you want to cuss.
But such was the temperament of Gus.

One day a bug flew toward a tree.
Gus's radar could easily see
Him flying. I thought, "That's good,
That Gus in going to have some food."
But in that tree lived Fred the Owl.
A dangerous bird, a frightening fowl.

Into the den of Owl flew Bug,
And Gus followed after, but there on the rug
Lay the Owl asleep. Gus just had to think
Of how he could eat without making a peep.

He tip-toed in. He rolled on the floor,
But hadn't remembered to open the door,
But instead had crashed through it--which made such a fuss
That it even awakened the rest of us.

So the owl named Fred, when he'd gathered his wits,
When he finally got over his rants and his fits,
Said "Hello, Gus!"  He was awfully excited,
For he knew that his hunger would be satisfieded.

 "Hello, hello, Fred."  The sweat had to roll.
(Bats always get scared in these cases, you know.)

"I would like to eat a bat."
"What care I for that?"
"I'm about to get my wish, and get my favorite dish."
"It's been a bad day, through and through."
"Maybe tomorrow will be better--tomorrow's always do."
"Make it fast and sweet, to use a cliche."
"Sweet 'n sour's my delight, any day."
"Don't chew with your mouth full."
"Would you like a blindfold?"
"That's bad etiquette."

Yes, I remember how Owl, though thinner,
Had a Gus-flavored dinner.

Mind by Richard Wilbur, sent to me by Peggy Rogers

Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

It has no need to falter or explore;
Darkly it knows what obstacles are there,
And so may weave and flitter, dip and soar
In perfect courses through the blackest air.

And has this simile a like perfection?
The mind is like a bat. Precisely. Save
That in the very happiest intellection
A graceful error may correct the cave.

I lost the name of the person who sent it to me, but here's The Guppy by Ogden Nash

Whales have calves,
Cats have kittens,
Bears have cubs,
Bats have bittens,
Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have
little guppies.

Vladimir's First Flight by Chantel Eaton

At the bottom of a stairwell
In a pile of screeching lint,
We found our newborn batling

He was crying for his mama
Who'd long since flown away
And left her babe to die there.
On this...his saddest day.

His body? Cold and hairless.
His face? Only his mother could kiss,
And fortunately for him this night,
I would become just this.

We fed him with a bottle
And we cuddled him at night.
We dreamed about his future,
And planned on his first flight.

The weeks turned into months,
He grew dearer by the day.
We couldn't imagine life without,
The bat who came to stay.

Vladimir, we'd name him
But he never learned to fly,
We provided everything he'd need
He didn't need the sky.

He'd often spread his wings at night,
Our hearts told us he'd go,
But he never actually took to air
He must have loved us so.

A virus came a-creepin'
Into our home one night.
It took our little Vladimir
To Heaven...for his first flight.

                     -Chantel D. Eaton
                       September 13, 1997

Bob Clark sent me this poem, The Bat by Theodore Roethke.

By day, the bat is cousin to the mouse
He likes the attic of an aging house
His fingers make a hat about his head
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead

He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees which face the corner light
But when he brushes up against the screen
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen
For something is amiss, or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face

Dream Song 63 by John Berryman

Bats have no bankers and they do not drink
and cannot be arrested and pay no tax
and, in general, bats have it made.

You Asked Me What It Is Like by Alice Field

I am a bat
I do not do what I should
I cut the strings
that bound my wings
and made me shuffle about
with my teeth.

I found an open window
and launched myself for flight
I clapped my wings
two unnoticed strings
caught me back sharply
into a wall.

Devra Kunin sent me the following poems, Thanks !

From a very old Peter, Paul and Mary album:

"Hi!" said the little leatherwinged bat,
"I'll tell you the reason that--
the reason that I fly by night
is that I've lost my heart's delight."


Excerpt from Robert Browning's "Sordello":

The sorriest bat which cowers through noontide
While other birds are jocund, has one time
When moon and stars are blinded, and the prime
Of earth is his to claim, nor find a peer.

Old nursery rhyme:

Bat, bat, come under my hat
and I'll give you a piece of bacon,
and when I bake, I'll give you a cake,
if I am not mistaken.

It was once a popular belief that bats liked bacon, possibly because
they sometimes came down people's chimneys, where bacon used to hang to
And an excerpt from "Sir Roderic's Song" from Gilbert and Sullivan's RUDDIGORE: 

When the night wind howls in the chimney cowls,
        and the bat in the moonlight flies,
And inky clouds, like funeral shrouds,
        sail over the midnight skies--
When the footpads quail at the night-bird's wail,
        and black dogs bay at the moon,
Then is the spectres' holiday--then is the ghosts'
        high noon!

Excerpt from "Senlin: A Biography" by Conrad Aiken

It is evening Senlin says, and in the evening
The leaves on the trees, abandoned by the light,
Look to the earth, and whisper, and are still.
The bat with horned wings, tumbling through the darkness,
Breaks the web, and the spider falls to the ground.
The starry dewdrop gathers upon the oakleaf,
Clings to the edge, and falls without a sound.

And the last four lines of a poem called "The Phases of the Moon"
by W. B. Yeats.

And then he laughed to think that what seemed hard
Should be so simple--a bat rose from the hazels
And circled round him with its squeaky cry,
The light in the tower window was put out.

Here's another sent by Devra. It's a fragment by William Blake:

The bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.

Joseph Thomas writes : Here's a bit from Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters. It is from a lengthier poem.

It happens on the Common in Boston:

A bat fallen out of its tree
Mid-Afternoon. A sick bat? I stooped
Thinking I'd lift it again to tree-bark safety.
It reared up on its elbows and snarled at me,
A raving hyena, the size of a sparrow,
Its whole face peeled in a snarl, fangs tiny.
I tried to snatch it up by the shoulders
But is spun, like a fighter, behind its snarl.

I had to give it my finger.
Let the bite lock. Then, cradling it,
Gently lift it and offered it up
To the wall of chestnut bark.
At home I looked at the blood, and remembered:
American bats have rabies. How could Fate
Stage a scenario so symbolic
Without having secreted the tragedy ending
And the ironic death? It confirmed
The myth we had sleepwalked into: death.
This was the bat-light we were living in: death.

Thanks to bkdrgn at ix.netcom.com who sent me the following poem

Waiting  Afield at Dusk by Robert Frost, 1920

WHAT things for dream there are when spectre-like, 
Moving among tall haycocks lightly piled, 
I enter alone upon the stubble field, 
From which the laborers' voices late have died, 
And in the antiphony of afterglow 
And rising full moon, sit me down 
Upon the full moon's side of the first haycock 
And lose myself amid so many alike. 

I dream upon the opposing lights of the hour, 
Preventing shadow until the moon prevail; 
I dream upon the night-hawks peopling heaven, 
Each circling each with vague unearthly cry, 
Or plunging headlong with fierce twang afar; 
And on the bat's mute antics, who would seem 
Dimly to have made out my secret place, 
Only to lose it when he pirouettes, 
And seek it endlessly with purblind haste; 
On the last swallow's sweep; and on the rasp 
In the abyss of odor and rustle at my back, 
That, silenced by my advent, finds once more, 
After an interval, his instrument, 
And tries once--twice--and thrice if I be there; 
And on the worn book of old-golden song 
I brought not here to read, it seems, but hold 
And freshen in this air of withering sweetness; 
But on the memory of one absent most, 
For whom these lines when they shall greet her eye. 

Here's a few sent to me by Celia Williams, Thanks !

Childhood by John Clare 1793-1864

One summer eves with wild delight
We bawled the bat to y
Who in the'I Spy' dusky light
Shreiked loud and flickered by
And up we tossed our huttle cocks
and tried to hit the moon
and wondered bats would flye so long
and they come down so soon

Traditional Verse from Cornwall

Airy mouse, airy mouse, fly over my head
and you shall have a crust of bread
and when I brew, and when I bake
You shall have a piece of my wedding cake

Alphabet Verse, Edward Lear

B was a bat who slept all day
and fluttered about when the sun went away
B brown little bat.

Jeffrey Piacitelli's Kindergarten class is writing Bat Poetry

A Bat Poem by Alex

I'm a bat,
I do not see like a rat.
Bats are nocternal
but that's just a kernel.
That bat
is not very fat.
This is his diet:
(he doesn't exactly eye-it)
Mosquitoes but not Cheetoes!
Bugs are rough but bats are TOUGH!

The End

Here's another from Jeffrey Piacitelli's class

I'm a bat and that's that by Caryn I'm a bat and that's that I use echolocation and some of us use hibernation I sleep in the day and when I go out to hunt I never bump into trees on the way. I sleep in a cave and my name is Dave, I usually have one baby at a time but I haven't heard of a bat that has nine. The vampire bat drinks blood and I would. . . if I could.

Nanci sent me this poem by Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

from "A Door in the Hive"

the sacred bats
hang in their chosen grove,
                  sinister old dustbags,
                  charcoal gray,
doze upside down,
                  alien, innocent.
Restless, like seals on a rock,
they nudge one another,
they slip off into air to circle
return, squeaking their utterance,
a fluttering language, and others, disturbed,
squeak in reproof.
                  All day in the heat
they wait
for dusk and the high
invisible orchards.

If they could think
it would not be of us.

A Teacher sent me this poem by Chelsea Reber and Hannah Hansen

Bats !

Bats go flying in the night,
Some give people a lot of fright,
Most people think they're very scary,
But most of them are just cute and hairy!

Johan Eklof wrote this poem

A bouncing sound from echoes around
in a world of acoustic cues
Where visual clues are important and rare
to seek the truth out there

Here's some bat poetry by by Chris Miller


Midnight marauders
Flit and shudder
Because they know
Rodents of the air.

Givers of life
And patient evolution
You'll never be trusted
Surrounded by black cats,
And such.

-All that dark stigmata.

Tonight, by Devil's Tower,
The blue dusky sky
Will be peppered again
With hundreds of agitated
Ebony bowties.
Ready for night-time
And Witching Hour
Tea Parties.

Here's a poem by Jill Ferguson of Crete Elementary school

                   A  Batty  Poem

A little black bat flew into the room,
I heard a loud sound,  and it was a  ZOOM!

Her mother was a mammal who nursed her young,
They hang upside down by their feet not their tongue.

Nocturnal time they sleep all day,
Because they are sleeping with no time for play,

Eating bugs in flight all through the night,
Their echolocation shining bright.

Some bats are huge and some are small,
Some have ugly noses, and some have none at all.

Big ears and small eyes, and they're little sized,
They follow the insects with ears not their eyes.

Huge eyes and big sized to juicy  fruit they eat,
They  eat till they're full, then hang by their feet.

In the winter they hibernate just like a bear,
So if you should see one, let him sleep,
Leave him there!

Barbars Spring sent me one of her poems


Flight of bats

on the rime of night

echo fragile cries

over the still black mirror.

They skim, dip, tip stars

glimmer quicksilver grace

to riffle water.

Swift to kill caddis nymph

lacewing and mosquito in flight;

tilt, soar, glance and glide

insectivores shimmer in the skyloom.

This is another Steve Harris poem


Riding the fly flecked flours of a dusty sky,
Into dusk's rusty brisket, I have a universe
Slipping under me in liquification & fractions;
I know the secret address of the inventor of Tetrapaks
& how his oaks are ideal for hanging my body from.
 have a shotgun loaded with rice firing a wedding
In my ears on fine days, the air is my bride
I grate over the fire of my destiny.
Noise is an alien I try & deny hold of me;
It reminds of thunder made at molecular level,
The electrons burst from balloon rubs;
The inflated objects that cling to the skeilings
Are brothers bloated w. decay; poisoned & rotten.
I call to them when night comes & spread fingertips
To touch for response, to swivel a hold on
A world that sweeps up vaulting as combing hollow,
A gape where I can fold in & out as I wish.
Alive, the pink inside the cat's ear is my fear,
The pinks that penetrate the petal of a gardenia's heart
Pall beside the pink of those tiny eyes,
The albino sight that combusts to a sun touch.
In distance screams bounce off living breath
& saliva sumps free; in the seconds it takes
To steer & home hunger to fat flesh & farrago of legs
There is the drowning in stealth.
The trees they talk a strange suction of silence
As branches behave as arms, fingers like twigs
Swim a semaphore nothing but phylum interprets.
They question the air of its motives.
They seem susceptible to my tiniest draughts.
There is an answer hung in this skull cave,
Hooked it jerks not like a fish
But a man drenched & tickled w. current,
Hoping it will not want a mouth for hiding in
I freely form the sounds of a fear
Never shall I acknowledge that I hear.

Here's one by Megan VanderVort

Wing-ed creature of the
sleeps by day, at dusk takes
Though black and fanged it's very
this creature could never bring forth

Here's one by Dave Dial

             Ode to Bats
(Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico)




Beautiful evening.


Here's a poem sent by Loraxer66

I am a bat,
no, not a cat,
I fly during the night,
Because i don't like the light,
I eat lots of fruit,
And wear a fur suit,
I hang upside-down,
And I don't wear a frown,
Because being a bat,
Is surely all that

Jade Lilly sent me this self-authored bat poem

Ravishing Spirits,
Soaring through the Night.
Mysterious Creatures,
Caught in Mid-Air Flight.
Misinterpreted Beasts,
What a Beautiful Sight.
Fearsome Killers,
Not in the Slight.
Fascinating Beings,
Never Seen in the Light.

Bill Moll sent me his bat poem.

The poem uses the first letters of the term echolocation.
Every evening
Caves come alive and
Hunters alight
On New Mexican deserts.
Lone riders of the night skies are
Off to nocturnal feasts.
Caverns spew their winged lava
Across the darkening deserts.
Teeming leathery warriors
In flight over arid seas.
Onward legions of the twilight
Night-borne pilots of sandy, moonlit shores.

Here is a poem by Thomas Rose aged 11 from Welling in Kent, England


Bats have shiny leather wings
Bats do many clever things
Bats dose upside-down by day
Bats come out at night to play

Bats cavort in soaring cliques
sounding ultrasonic shrieks
Acrobatic in the sky
Bats catch every bug they spy

Here's a poem Jamie Curtis sent me

Bats are cute and never scary
Bats are very sanitary
Bats in dismal caves keep cozy
Bats remind us of Lugosi
Bats have webby wings that fold up
Bats from ceilings hang down rolled up
Bats when flying undismayed are
Bats are careful
Bats use radar
Bats at night time at their best are
Bats by Batman unimpressed are.

Here's a poem by Rebecca Clark


I walk towards our house
after dusk has covered the yard
and through the open windows
I hear a sharp yelp from our daughter.
I look up to the stairwell window
where I see the silhouette of a bat
flashing across the walls.

Inside the house,
the sound of your laughter echoes
behind the living room door
as you try to lasso its beating wings 
with a green and yellow afghan.

Its wild aerobatics finally subdued 
and rolled up into an acrylic ball, you rush 
out into the now-black night and like magic, 
its fluttering wings dissolve
into stars.

Nanci sent me another poem. This one is by W.S. Merwin


Look at this red pear
Hanging from a good family

Where the butcher hung the rag on the tree.

The bat's bloated again,
Hooked on his dark nimbus
Getting over it.
Here is the cure of pity
Upside down.

Elsewhere the laundry
Is buried,
The deer tracks left by his teeth
Look for the cross-roads,
The veins that are still good
Hold out their hands.

		Here's his story.

His bridges are not burned only folded.
In a while the swollen life
He calls his own
Will shrink back till it fits the mirrors,
No worse for no wear;
The eyes will come
To conceal movement again;
He will find his voice to fly by.

That's how he does it: rock-a-bye,
Hanging there with his silence all wool
And others at heart,
Two pounds in his pound bag,

Shaped like a tear but
Not falling for anyone.

Here's a poem written by Robert Ford

The Bat Poem

Bats are big
bats are small
have a good time
with them all

Bats may be scary OH MY,
but they will never make you die

No one knows when they came about,
but they use echolocation to find their route.

Tonight they'll eat 6000 mosquitoes.
They must be very hungry!

One day all the bats will be gone,
but if respect them,
they will never go wrong.

Devri sent me this poem by Elizabeth Coatsworth.


And dreams like bats
(which with small cries
go chasing gnats
and long-legged flies)

wing through the darkness
of the breast
until with day
they take their rest,

hanging head downwards,
vague, aloof,
like some soft fungus
on a roof.

Back to the Bat House !

This page is created and maintained by Jim Buzbee . If you know of any Bat Poetry sources (or If I lost your submission...), let me know !

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