Friday, February 28, 2014

clouded leopard

at the zoo
for me
there is only
the clouded leopard
its fishbowl cage.

her sad eyes,
her muscles, taut—
to be on display.

now, this isn’t popular
or proper.
come on, baby.
let us see you,
exploit you,
measure you.
we’ll feed you, promise.
you don’t want to be gregarious?
on facebook?
you must have your head
and spots examined.

there’s a reason
she climbs,
the best at it of her kind—
she’s designed to be

by day
she wants to rest
among the trees
and hunt at night,

she keeps her pelt and cubs
and her sanity.

break the glass
and let her out, let her out—
she’s me.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Linking with other poets at Poets United:  The Poetry Pantry this weekend.


Wendy Bourke said...

This is really good, Jennifer. I stay away from zoo’s altogether - too sad and very unnatural. At first glance, if might appear that you’ve ascribed human feelings to the penned leopard, but I suspect the leopard REALLY DOES feel exploited – certainly it knows that it is caged. All living creatures, I think, would have an innate revulsion to being confined and gawked at, the way that this animal is. You’ve penned a compassionately drawn picture, of animals suffering for the entertainment of humans.

ayala said...

Sad...a good write!

Brian Miller said...

oy i would break her out if i could...what a gorgeous creature...all the animals at the zoo make me sad...i know some are being rehabbed be confined and limited against your nature....not cool...

RMP said...

stand back, I have a hammer and I know how to use it. I can see why you could relate to such a majestic feline. I like the fishbowl cage combo. lovely piece.

janetld said...

Another powerful, original piece - with a strong, bold ending.


Anonymous said...

mirrored in nature. so much of us is caged or boxed.

one nit? I think you mean taut? don't want to be 'that guy' though - please forgive me if I've stepped over. ~

Jennifer Wagner said...

ha! you're right--fixed it! thanks for pointing it out *face palm*. thanks're never "that guy"

Claudia said...

yes let her out... i'm sad when they put animals that are meant to be free in a cage... and we sometimes do the same with people or others do it to us..

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I always have such conflicting feelings about zoos. On the one hand, it's terribly upsetting to see a caged animal, on the other hand, they have saved many species from extinction by successfully breeding them in captivity (like the California Condor).

Optimistic Existentialist said...

P.S. this may be the inspiration for a future blog post of mine!! The topic of the good part of zoos vs. the bad parts of zoos

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

So wonderful to feel that kind of kinship--and so painful---maybe we all need to be let out

Rajesh said...

To be caged for life so that the zoo keepers can sell popcorn!!!

Fireblossom said...

I never saw that ending coming. I was totally caught up in your accurate and sympathetic portrayal of the leopardess.

C.George said...

very prolific. i love it

Jennifer Wagner said...

Cool, Keith! :) That should make for an interesting discussion...looking forward to it.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Happy Sunday!!

Brian Miller said...

happy sunday jennifer...
hope your weekend is going well...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

YES! Let her out! She is so beautiful. Humans dont realize, when we entrap wild creatures, and nature, we are setting our own traps. They will catch up to us eventually. Sigh. This is a gorgeous poem, my friend.

Sumana Roy said...

freedom is so precious....

Mary said...

Oh, I feel this, Jennifer. I can see that you have empathy for this leopard, feeling its pain as if it were your own. I have mixed feelings about zoos. I think as so many animals die or are poached / killed in the wild, perhaps some animals' only safe haven WILL be the zoos that protect them.

Unknown said...

You make us feel the inner workings of the introvert with this one, Jennifer. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Both the leopard and the 'me' in the poem deserve freedom! So 'break the glass.'!!! I loved this!

Grace said...

I feel sad for those wild animals caged in the zoo ~Must be tough to be put on display for the paying public ~ That ending really grabbed me ~

Happy Sunday ~

Truedessa said...

I agree this would def make a good topic for discussion..

Truedessa said...

Such a beautiful creature that should be running wild and free but, I too have mixed emotions about zoo's as I know many animals have gone there after
being rescued from dangerous situations.

Preeti S. said...

she keeps her pelt and cubs
and her sanity.

break the glass
and let her out, let her out—
she’s me."

Wow. Simply brilliant. And so relevant in our times when we all feel caged behind the invisible/visible bars every moment of our lives. Maybe that is why some of us become reclusive because perhaps, that is a way to safeguard our sanity.

Brilliant poem. Loved it.

M.Z said...

Zoo's truly are evil places for animals to be, especially when they are treated badly there...that is one of the reasons i stay away from those places! Great poem! :)