Planet Earth Haiku

-derived from natural facts presented in the BBC Planet Earth series


Lakes of lava in

molten Ethiopia —

Hell’s ceiling on earth


Gobi desert snow

disobeys physical law —

Won’t melt in summer


K2, five miles high

Guardian of Shangri-La

Geese scale the apex


Hungry grizzly bears

Flip rocks to find Spring treasure —

Rocky Mountain moths


Cave mollies trip out,

breathing streams of delicious

sulfuric acid


Nests of saliva

Swiftlet eggs on high cave walls

Spit-shiny sconces


Wallabies dig holes,

lick their arms in desert heat

Coolest ‘roos around


Saharan desert

Toads on nightly pest control

Nowhere to hide, fleas


Death Valley cries rain

Dormant seeds rejoice and shout

Thirty-year silence


Red-billed Quelea

Like Serengeti thunder

Billions choke the sky


Polar bears starving —

Walruses circle their young

Seals off the menu


Be nice to oceans

Three fourths of our oxygen:

Diatom algae


On earth, without legs,

Most abundant animal

feeds the largest: krill


General Sherman

weighs as much as ten blue whales

Moby Sequoia


Andes flamingoes

Locked each night in frozen lakes

Ice cold knee socks


Swordbill hummingbird

Beak longer than its body —

Three foils when flying


Amazon jungle

Canopy vapor shower

Makes its own weather


Brazil jaguar

dines on quarry its own size —

Caiman crocodile


Costa Rican trick:

Fungi glows cool white at night

Spores hitchhike on moths


Desert Harris hawks

Birds of prey hunting in packs

Choice by necessity


Butcher Bird’s trophies

Mouse, vole, lizard, rattlesnake —

Cactus spine pantry


Mumbai city streets

Nightlife traffic squeal and snort

Leopards prowl for pig


-Hugh Findlay


Hugh Findlay lives in Durham, NC, and would rather be caught fishing. He drives a little red MG, throws darts on Tuesdays, reads and writes a lot, dabbles in photography and makes a pretty good gumbo. His work has most recently been published in The Dominion Review, Literary Accents, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Bangalore Review, Burningwood Literary Journal, Wanderlust, Montana Mouthful and Dream Noir.