A Poem ...
So ... you admire my looks,
But you forget who I am,
I am the cheetah,
Or at least I was.
Once, I ran seventy miles an hour,
I gave chase and sometimes caught.
Oh wait, was that me or some distant ancestor.
I have a vague memory of golden plains,
The gazelle and the lion.
But I am captive, how could that be?
A deep, deep urge to wonder,
What, I am a running machine?
This cage, this place,
I have potential?
Oh, how my legs ache.
My heart is heavy, I stare out into space.
The distant beats of an African drum,
The rhythm of my heart,
The scent of acacia ... Oh, its pine.
Yes I am fed but not truly nourished,
A ball of sadness sits in my stomach,
My soul yearns for something far away.
I look out and dream,
The warm light in the sky,
Draws me near,
A place, familiar ... beckons.
You look at me and smile,
I entertain you and inspire you,
But not to set me free.
I feel homesick, but am not sure,
Is it a memory or in the core of my soul?
I do not belong here, I am bored,
I watch and pace and watch and pace,
You stare and sometimes feed me,
But I do not belong in this cage,
I do not belong in this place.
I am a cheetah,
I am the fastest mammal on four legs,
I need to reach my full potential
And realise my natural grace.
Photo & Poem by Helen Ratcliff.
( Photograph taken at London Zoological Society, October 2014)
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