Leopard by Featured Poet: Alicia Hayden

First, I took amber and fire
And I had his eyes.
Then I took sunset and dawn
And I had his coat.
I added charcoal and ink
And I had his spots.
Next I took needles and pins
And I had his claws.
Then I took strength and the stars
And I had his teeth.
I added leather and roses
And I had his tongue.
Next I took wire and sensitivity
And I had his whiskers.
Then I took rain and peaches
And I had his nose.
I added rope and balance
And I had his tail.
Next I took hardiness and a brain
And I had his head.
I took pride from the Lion,
Speed from the Cheetah,
Strength from the Ox…
And then I had him
I had the Leopard.


Poem and drawing by Alicia Hayden, Rain before Rainbows 2020

I am an award-winning poet and artist from North Yorkshire, with a degree in Biology from Oxford University, and a love of wildlife and the natural world.

I think it is important to use creative writing and the arts to showcase the beauty of nature, and why we need to protect it; and this inspired me to create and self-publish my first, illustrated wildlife poetry book “Rain before Rainbows” in 2020, of which 50% of profits go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles. 

My poem “Leopard” won WWF’s My True Nature under 18s poetry competition in 2011, and my poem “Vulnerable to Extinction” won Prickles & Paws’ poetry competition of the same name in 2021. I was awarded the inaugural Ingrid Beazley Award for winning the Human Impact category in David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021, for my piece “When the Whale Sang”, which accompanies my poem “The Whale’s Song”. 


Website: https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliciahaydenwildlife/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aliciahaydenwildlife 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNn7n53grSoMi7cK68_58JQ 

Ko-Fi (buy me a coffee): https://ko-fi.com/aliciahayden 


Link/s to book sales:

Shop: https://aliciahaydenshop.bigcartel.com/ 

Books are also available to buy through The Little Ripon Bookshop, Ripon (UK): https://www.littleriponbookshop.co.uk/