Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Poem of the Day: “Denver Zoo Mourns Loss of Black Rhinoceros” by John Reinhart, Frequent Contributor and Poet of the Week

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Denver Zoo Mourns Loss of Black Rhinoceros” by John Reinhart, a Songs of Eretz Frequent Contributor and this week’s Poet of the Week.  Mr. Reinhart’s biography may be found in the “About Our Editor & Frequent Contributors” section.

Denver Zoo Mourns Loss of Black Rhinoceros
John Reinhart

only the rhinoceros recognized her
as she drifted by the cages, pens,
habitats zooscapers so carefully mimicked

through his rough exterior
caked with mud and straw
there still shone the gleam
from which he was created,
beast of imperturbable will,
battering ram composed of ages
with kind eyes

who had never seen wild life
because the sad episode
with the passenger pigeon
is too often rerun, poor soap opera
for ever more tentative times

the solemn beast lay himself down –
she shut his eyes and transported
them both to the wide savannah
where sky was indistinguishable
from earth and the breeze
breathed his true name
as a meteor shot across the moon

Poet’s Notes:  I dream of animals on barstools, chatting casually about their days, or lecturing quietly to university students, or sitting next to me on the bus. I imagine their conversations; I imagine where they go when they dream. I wrote this before the rhino died ( Zoos are wondrous and frustrating places. They illustrate the best and worst of human society. Everyone wants to see a black rhinoceros, but no one wants to have to cage a black rhinoceros.

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