Clam By Mary Oliver
By Author
An Animal Rights Poem from

All of God's creatures have rights, a fact that most people don't seem to recognize. This includes both human and non-human animals, but not all of them can speak for themselves.

By Mary Oliver

Each one is a small life, but sometimes long, if its
place in the universe is not found out. Like us, they
have a heart and a stomach; they know hunger, and
probably a little satisfaction too. Do not mock them
for their gentleness, they have a muscle that loves
being alive. They pull away from the light. They pull
down . They hold themselves together. They refuse to

But sometimes they lose their place and are tumbled
shoreward in a storm. Then they pant, they fill
with sand, they have no choice but must open the
smallest crack. Then the fire of the world touches
them. Perhaps, on such days, they too begin the
terrible effort of thinking, of wondering who, and
what, and why . If they can bury themselves again in
the sand they will. If not, they are sure to perish,
though not quickly. They also have resources beyond
the flesh; they also try very hard not to die.

From Mary Oliver's book, What Do We Know

Return to: Animal Rights Poetry