The Right Question

An animal in a cage does not spend its time
rehashing how it got to be in that sad place,
reliving the moments from its glorious prime;
but often a puzzled look is upon its face.

Unlike man, it does not spend its time in dreams,
spinning its wheels in wasted thoughts of liberty;
it does not look upon the world and say it seems
a cursed existence, no more than a travesty.

And yet, a question stirs, a mad recurring thought,
that occupies its pacing up and down its cage;
and like its human fellow prisoners, now caught,
it looks out at the world in misery and rage.

The query that it forms is not to wonder how,
nor think about the birds that float free in the sky;
it does not ponder much beyond the here and now,
but slowly, just repeats over and over – “Why?”

22 FEB 2003

Inspired by a section of Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael

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