Kershak’s crushed pride

Deep within his eyes, well
a silenced call, tears for
felled mahogany, waterfalls,
and nimble fingers picking lice.
His gaze upon you, singes
as your fingers touch the sacrifice,
the mercy of release: a price,
of sweets to make him smile.
In superficial hope, he sparks
with life, in brief relapse accepts
your gift, Yet as you leave him
crushed again behind the bars;
he accepts our imprisonment
and you the burden of our guilt.

Image credit Margaret Bednar

Image credit Margaret Bednar

At toads Margaret shares a few wonderful pictures from Washington DC at toads, and the picture of the Gorilla of the zoo moved me a lot. Hope it makes some sense.

20 responses to “Kershak’s crushed pride

  1. No reason to put them behind bars. No way it could swing from branch to branch thus. No, we must enjoy seeing them suffer, that is the whole point!


  2. This picture makes me grief-stricken, I find it difficult to look at. Your poem explores the depth of captivity in the eyes of this gorilla, so nearly human.

  3. We should all be sad, Bjorn. Especially the one, who-it-be, addressed in this poem of admonishment. The poor little fellow I met was resigned to perform to make me happy, reward or no:


  4. read this again after looking at the pic – and it makes total sense
    one reasons why i don’t like visiting zoos is that i almost cannot bear to see those animals behind the bars

  5. It is sad to see a caged animal unless they wouldn’t survive if freed. Some animal parks are better than others. The old type of zoo is the worst. Good piece, Bjorn.

  6. Very moving and reminds me of staring into the intelligent eyes of a male gorilla at Barcelona Zoo. If only we could fully protect them in the wild.

  7. Yes, their eyes – they don’t stare for long / mostly a deep glance. They seem so considerate and I felt so rude, staring. I saw her watching my 7 year old son so I reached out and hugged him, kissed his cheek. She really watched me do this. And I glanced at her and looked away and back again like she did to me. There was some sort of interest, connection. I couldn’t help but wonder what she would be like in her natural habitat. Your poem really strikes home why we do to these animals.

  8. The photo reveals a proud animal – in the face of indignity … and your words echo that abuse, with a stark intensity that does, indeed, confer a burden of guilt. A very moving piece, Björn.

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