Conundrum

My hands caress
use opposable thumbs.
Yours do that,
and also shoot guns.

I bask in the sun
nurture my young.
You do that,
and stockpile guns.

I sit in here
looking out at you.
You stand out there
looking in at me.

I see your face
your hands
your feet,
so like me.

So why am I the one
locked in here,
you out there
staring at me.

   

Photos taken at the San Diego Zoo. I can stand for hours looking at the gorillas – they mesmerize me. I’m hosting dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets, asking folks to anthropomorphize within today’s poem. Give an animal or object human characteristics such that it behaves like a human. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time — come on over and anthropomorphize with us! 

58 thoughts on “Conundrum

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 3:19 pm

      Well…..at least the San Diego Zoo has a huge (very very large) natural habitat for the gorillas and they are behind glass, not bars. But I do agree…….for me, zoos are difficult places. Although these days, many of them are maintaining and breeding animals who need protection.

      Like

  1. Grace April 4, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    I find it amazing to stare at these creatures…those eyes and hands like ours ~

    Thanks for hosting Lillian ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 3:32 pm

      They truly are amazing. I can watch them for hours. We’ve been to San Diego about 4 times over the past 47 years and each time I say, before we go, I’m staying an hour in front of the gorillas…and I do! πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. Bev April 4, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    Truly a conundrum within an enigma within a puzzle. Surely they are thinking of the cages they could build for us! The photos are marvelous, Lillian, and your words something to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      Thanks, Bev. I truly could watch them for hours. So so similar to us in physical attributes — amazing.

      Like

  3. frankhubeny April 4, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    I agree. We’re the ones who should be locked up. I haven’t seen a gorilla up close even in a zoo but I think it would be very interesting to stare into a gorilla’s eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      To me, for me, they come into my soul. We are so very similar in our physiques…I connect with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. sarahsouthwest April 4, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    The great question. Why do we value ourselves so much, and our cousins so little? When you look into a orangutan’s eyes, or a gorilla’s, you know they are people, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 4:00 pm

      Oh Sarah, I so so agree! πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Linda Kruschke April 4, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    I love the San Diego Zoo. Used to go there as a kid. You do wonder what those animals are thinking as they look out at all the zoo-goers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. whippetwisdom April 4, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    A beautiful poem Lillian and those eyes are so moving. I have only seen monkeys in the wild once, near the temples of Yaxchilan, swinging through the trees and having a ball. However good the intentions may be, zoos will always look like prisons to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      I sadly agree……but there are those, like the San Diego Zoo, that do as much as they can to create natural habitats. And that is good.

      Liked by 2 people

      • lillian April 4, 2017 / 5:36 pm

        I LOVE the gorilla section, and the bird section too!

        Like

  7. hypercryptical April 4, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    I’d love to know what they are thinking too.
    I guess the good zoos do a good job by protected breeding for those species at risk of extinction. But it is probable this would not be needed if mankind wasn’t so keen on the so called sport of killing them…
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 5:34 pm

      I absolutely agree. Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Anna.

      Like

  8. Singledust April 4, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    we live a life of such contradiction. You write it so clearly with each stanza showing just how similar yet so divided we are from the other inhabitants of this earth. A distance we humans create through fences and borders, hurt with hands and guns. I am very moved by this poem, zoos are lovely places to see wildlife but they also show the hurt in the animals eyes I cannot bear to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 5:34 pm

      I do so agree with what you’ve written here. When I looked at my photos in large size on the page, they took my breath away….the eyes….oh the eyes. And the innocence of the curled hand…in comparison to the human hand’s tasks and actions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Singledust April 4, 2017 / 5:38 pm

        zoos in Asia in particular are badly maintained, I have often secretly and crazily plotted with my kids to return at night and set them all free!! The saddest to me are the elephants, I can’t look at their eyes, they stand so still yet long to be free. At least the orang utans have the trees to give them a semblance of natural living. you have a lovely skill at taking photographs Lilian.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Glenn Buttkus April 4, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    Great illustration of your prompt–puts me in and of PLANET OF THE APES. They say that apes, man & bear are all anthropologic cousins, We branched off into separate species along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 4, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      Thanks, Glenn. Didn’t know that about the bears. I absolutely hated all the Planet of the Apes movies….maybe because I already anthropomorphize gorillas and their kin so much?

      Like

  10. paul scribbles April 4, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    Behind those eyes resides such a gentle soul. We do not honour our cousins well enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jillys2016 April 4, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    San Diego Zoo – nothing compares! Thanks for hosting and sharing these photos πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2017 / 8:12 am

      I love the San Diego zoo. It seems a very well kept and caring place. Glad you liked the photos! Sometimes I’m amazed when I look at the pictures I’ve taken – cropping also helps a lot to zero in on the features!

      Like

  12. kanzensakura April 4, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    I always find zoos very sad, in spite of the breeding and protection of a species. I feel, maybe in the natural order of things, animals are supposed to die out. after all, I we don’t have dinosaurs still roaming the earth! I prefer the natural habitat zoos but still….I find the eyes of the great apes mesmerizing and I realize just how barely separated we are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2017 / 8:15 am

      Ah Toni, your comment is so thoughtful here. I’ve never thought of it in this way…in terms of the natural order of things. But sadly, humans and their “footprints” on the earth have increased, in my opinion, the demise of many creatures and that is not in the “natural” cycle of things. So perhaps we owe it to these magnificent (and some of the not so magnificent) creatures, to build natural habitat zoos to protect them? And oh yes……those eyes!!! And I am always mesmerized by the hands! Sooooo like ours!

      Like

  13. Dr. Crystal Howe April 4, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    A powerful poem… I’ve often wondered that myself,why “they” are caged and “we” have he right to cage…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2017 / 8:10 am

      Exactly….or another take on it is “who is really in the cage?”

      Like

    • lillian April 5, 2017 / 8:10 am

      Thanks, De. LOVE your dragon! πŸ™‚

      Like

  14. lifelessons April 4, 2017 / 11:13 pm

    To look at an orangutang and have them look back.. no doubt that there is an intelligence there. Enjoyed your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2017 / 8:09 am

      There is definitely an intelligence there! So glad you enjoyed.

      Like

  15. Waltermarks April 5, 2017 / 9:40 am

    There’s a lot more intelligence in there than out here. We might do better to change places. They won’t monkey with everything like we do 🐡

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Janice April 5, 2017 / 11:26 am

    This is great Lillian. What a surprise (but so appropriate) to discover who is speaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2017 / 3:32 pm

      Thanks, Janice. Glad you enjoyed!

      Like

  17. Adda April 5, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    I see the humanness, tenderness, love, and caring every time my dog’s big brown eyes look into my green eyes and she turns her head slightly as I speak gently to her. She understands me. I am devoted to her as she is to me. I find it difficult to go to zoos as I see the humanness in many of the animals it holds. When I first started reading your poem I thought it was about you being inside your home and the villains were outside only to discover you were talking about gorilla in a zoo… if you had no pictures, i would not have guess you were describing that scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 5, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      Ah, the opposable thumbs didn’t quite tell the story. Others were surprised by the photos at the end too. So it’s a piece that needs the photos to fully understand.
      Pets are truly a part of the family and offer uncondiional love :)\
      Really really nice and fun to see you reading my posts, Adda. Many thanks! πŸ™‚

      Like

  18. lynn__ April 5, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    San Diego has a beautiful zoo and I enjoyed watching the apes as well when we visited last winter. I found it interesting that they provide spacious retirement quarters for former circus elephants. Their zoo also saved the California condor as a species by breeding and releasing to the wild.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2017 / 8:03 am

      Thank you for this info, Lynn! I’ve been there maybe 4 times on vacations, conferences etc and have always thought it a wonderful place. I first learned about it on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show when Joan Embry would visit with various animals from the SD Zoo. This confirms my opinion!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Charley April 5, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I’ve had thoughts like these when I’ve been to zoos. However, I’ve spent enough time in the wild to know that sometimes it’s safer — easier to survive elsewhere. Powerful images, and powerful thoughts! Definitely a conundrum.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. rosemawrites April 6, 2017 / 3:46 am

    oh geez. i am wondering how will we answer his question?? such a creative and deep take dear Lill!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2017 / 8:05 am

      Glad you enjoyed, Rose. Staring into the eyes of these beings always gets me thinking!

      Liked by 1 person

      • rosemawrites April 7, 2017 / 5:06 am

        awwww. yea. they stare with such depths!

        Like

  21. MarinaSofia April 7, 2017 / 8:46 am

    So true, so true – I like the contrast you present. Those eyes look so wise and sad, don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

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