Another exquisite creature lies yonder on the hill—
just beyond the pampa horse, okapi and spoonbill.
All the lovely creatures we are here to see
imprisoned behind barriers, just for you and me.
Polar bear goes pacing, as does lioness.
What they might be thinking, I can only guess.
Now that they know their freedom mainly by its edges,
one dreams of the tundra, the other icy ledges.
All day as they view us, in their eyes are gleams
revealing what they’re thinking—a pathway to their dreams.
Stalking their next meal— the waiting and the hush,
before the final pounce, that old familiar rush.
Ferrets with their kits and camels with their calves
are showing us their natures by quarters or by halves.
We see the way they eat and spy on how they pee,
but we’ll never see the whole of them in captivity.
Nature that is cageless has more of a savor.
Both the viewed and viewer spontaneous and braver.
With no bars between them, they’re part of the same world
as they retrieve their wildness from corners where it’s curled.
Hear a might roar, a hiss, a screech a chatter—
all exotic sounds that tell us what’s the matter.
If we are approaching, wandering too near,
they are simply telling us they don’t want us here.
Of all of the animals, they’ve heard we are the worst—
the primary reason our world’s about to burst.
Viewing all our actions, now and through the ages,
if they had their druthers, they’d put us all in cages.
The prompt word today is “exquisite.”