The Lion sunned himself on the slab of stone,
the weather was warm for an early February day.
He watched the visitors who mostly ignored him
busy with whatever the non-cats did, bundled up
in their faux furs and not having a fabulous mane
with which to claim the kingship of all he surveyed.
Here he need do nothing, not even to take care
of the two cubs which batted an old wooden ball
around through the returning grasses still mostly
brown, but eagerly turning green with plenty of rain
and lengthening days and now glorious sunshine.
The veldt was a distant memory for him today,
more like a dream when he he had roamed
the savannah and hunted the zebra and impala.
Now, although he could occasionally smell them,
he couldn’t reach them through the metal barriers,
nor could he see them still or bounding through
this place which wasn’t anything like Africa.
It was an odd life being free, yet not free and all
too often his days were spent just like this:
sunning on this rock and watching the creatures
that paraded in front of him with their incessant
noise-making and their pushing of things with
round little legs for their young and old which
couldn’t walk on their own. At least he could walk.
---Purple Mark, 02042012
- Couldn’t walk on their own. At least he could walk. Pages 11 & 12 illustrations 51 & 54 from Animals: 1419 Copyright-Free Illustrations Of Mammals, Birds, Fish, Insects, Etc.: A Pictorial Archive From Nineteenth Century Sources selected by Jim Harter, Dover Publications 1979.