Poetry By John CannonRipples
Poetry By John Cannon From All-Creatures Animal Rights and Inspirational Poetry Archive

Animal Rights, Spiritual and Inspirational poetry that touch the heart and soul, and provoke the mind

By John Cannon

Overwhelmed ―

a word for our times ―

if not by the daily tasks and crises
of our own small lives
in our own small corners

then by the immensity of the problems
near our homes, in our country,
all around the world.

Just thinking
about what we need to do
or want to do
in our own lives

can be


thinking about global poverty, hunger, injustice,
and the unrelenting abuse of our fellow humans
and the whole natural world

can be


But ―

if we open our eyes fully,
if we look carefully around us,
if we can even recognize tiny glimmers of hope,

then we will see a few resolute souls
who, with irrepressible fortitude,
refuse to give up,

who understand that the smallest good deeds
actually can add up,

not so much in their immediate impact,

but in the subtle ripples
of inspiration
that they set in motion.

Mother Teresa did not start out intending to
become a saint,

she never imagined the worldwide impact
she would have.

She said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” and she said,

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.”

Wangari Maathai did not start out intending to win a Nobel prize. She just encouraged women to plant trees in their communities in Africa

and inspired the planting of millions of trees
throughout the world.

Belinda Burwell did not start out intending to
become a savior to hundreds and hundreds
of injured animals.

Dr. Burwell and her loyal helpers bring these
animals back to health and fitness,
one animal at a time,

then return them to the wild,
never knowing where they will go
or how they will do,

but knowing that they simply must do this.

Our dark humor says, “no good deed goes

but, in truth, every good deed,
no matter how small or futile it may seem
does make a difference

does add a drop to the bucket, the pond, the ocean,

does ripple out

in ways we may never know.

Sister Teresa
Image from MotherTeresa.org

Sister Teresa
Image from MotherTeresa.org

Wangari Maathai
Image from GreenBeltMovement.org

Wangari Maathai
Image from GreenBeltMovement.org

Bald Eagle
This Bald Eagle was rescued 6 weeks ago on Locke's Mill Road because he was falling over and unable to fly. After being rescued by the BRWC staff, blood testing revealed high levels of lead in the blood and determined this eagle was suffering from lead poisoning. After treatment with chelating agents that removed the lead from his system, he recovered and is now flying well, and is ready for release back to the wild. He is going to be released close to his home on the Shenandoah River. Image from WildlifeVetCare.com

This Osprey was rescued 6 weeks ago because he also was off balance and unable to fly. Blood testing on this bird diagnosed a West Nile Virus infection. It took 4 weeks of care before he was able to fly again. He has now fully recovered and is ready for release
. Image from WildlifeVetCare.com

Image from

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