The king in Dubai


November1, 2010

 

The old lion lumbered up the steps

of the dingy enclosure

No longer majestic in his bondage

plagued by sickness, old age  

A pitiful sight for all with hearts

that could see beyond the fairy tale  

The bare patches on its yellow skin  

covered with sores, tick bites  

To little eyes he was still a King  

albeit to himself -a mere jailbird  

In the jungle, he was once the law perhaps  

Man trembled at a mere growl  

What did he do against human law  

except that he was born a lion?  

In a wretched prison for crimes never done  

suffering ignominy all his life  

Which rights for whom, who decides?  

Committees meet over tea and produce  

recommendations long as a perennial river  

while a beautiful life languishes in vain  

missing the free air and space

which nature had decreed for him to breathe  

He never caught a man for fun  

Never held any prey as hostage for life  

Merciful he was, he killed them right away  

Now he waits for an eternal flight  

to that unseen yet lush forest  

flourishing somewhere within him.

©Reena Prasad

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