Out of the cage

A beast with tawny fur and wistful eyes
   stares down the world through bars of serried steel.
He knows not why his life is held in prize;
   all else is guesswork, but the cage is real.
The keeper brings him food, but not release;
   the metal is for burnishing, not breaking.
Each passing day, the doubt and fear increase;
   each night brings dreams uncaged, and bitter waking.
Why is a mouse in such a prison pent,
as vermin, pet, or cold experiment?

Or was it fear forged this accursed place,
   fear of a vengeance fatal if set free?
Is it a king that frets his futile pace,
   shorn of his mane as of his liberty?
He tries his strength, but cannot take its measure:
   greater or less, the bars are stronger still.
No purpose, no escape, but deathly leisure,
   a wasted wrath, an ever thwarted will.
Did He Who made the lion make the cage,
and make him strong for naught but useless rage?

* * * *

   The lock is sprung:— the beast escapes its house.
   Which is it, then: the lion or the mouse?


  1. Matt Osterndorf says


  2. I’ve often wondered about He Who Makes – when I think that most animal babies are food for other animals.

    I trust Him; I just don’t understand so much.

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