Saturday, February 09, 2008

Poetry: Leaving the Cage

He was born
With a beating heart
And limited time
With rare and fabulous attributes
Eyes with which to absorb the light of the world
Ears with which to absorb the symphonies of sound
Senses with which to meld with all other things
And a mind with which to make order of it all
With the capacity for pleasure
Or for pain
Or for rage
Or for terror

He was born into captivity
A household; a society
A great sphere of imaginary borders
Made real by mass subscription
A society of rules to which he’s demanded accountable

No one asked him if he wished to come out and play
But they’ve allowed no choice, no space for him unregulated
No place for freedom

Not in a world of arrogant pride
Of armies and slavery and systematic training
Of concentration camps and mushroom clouds
And ideas of grand design
And promises of immortality
Not in a world of pretending

He learned to crawl on four limbs
And then to walk on two
He ate his meat and drank his milk
And grew up strong
Among endless voices unordered
And as trained he pretended to make order of it all

Only when he dared to stop pretending, did he discover
The mind’s capacity for joy

Joy

And with it peace
And with it freedom
And with it pity

Joy known to so very few
Though it sits awaiting all

And he grew stronger still


They are born
With beating hearts
And limited time
With rare and fabulous attributes
Eyes with which to absorb the light of the world
Ears with which to absorb the symphonies of sound
Senses with which to meld with all other things
And the minds with which to interpret it all
With the capacity for pleasure
And for pain
And for rage
And for terror

They are born into captivity
In pens; in barns; in factories
Windowless walls; solid cages; cold steel

No one asks them if they wish to come out and sacrifice
For them there is no freedom

Not in a world of selfish interest
Of fire branding and severed limbs
Of electric prods and bolt guns
Of slit throats and mechanical houses of horror
And blood-red Japanese shores
And blood-red Canadian snow
Not in a world of domination and cruelty

They learn to walk on four limbs
And then are forbidden to walk

What’s so grand about such a design, he cries
What does it matter that my teeth are sharp
What does it matter these ideas of eco chains
What does it matter would they exist if but for us
When there is no joy in cruelty
When there is no joy in pain
When there is no joy in terror

But when there is joy in kindness
When there is joy in mercy
When there is joy in loving
Joy known to the very few
Though it sits awaiting all

He put aside his meat and put aside his milk

What a joyful place
A place of freedom
Where the strong may pity the weak
And love the vulnerable*





* “We enter as lords of the earth bearing strange powers of terror and mercy alike. But human beings should love animals as the knowing love the innocent; as the strong love the vulnerable.” - Joaquin Phoenix, film: Earthlings (largely, if not wholly, taken from Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully). Photo yanked from www.heiferfoundation.org.

2 comments:

JesseTheCat said...

I really am no poetry judge...but I know what I enjoy reading...and this really held me spellbound! Its awesome writing...

Dave said...

That was a fun weekend. The Keg always rocks. I think I'll try that steak that you had the next time I go. It looked great. Just the right amount of blood. Mmmm... Bovine goodness.