Poems by
Madan Mohan

A Captive Lion Speaks

a poem by Madan Mohan

O God! What’s your only sin?
You created man,
Who, with a bottle of gin,
Is killing our clan.

God! They say you’re faultless.
But you created man,
Who is heartless,
And that was your only sin.

I used to roam in the forest,
Where from my throat one roar,
Made the deer at rest,
Like the cranes, soar.

I had a beautiful spouse,
With cute little cubs,
Who played in my house,
And splashed about in a natural tub.

Such a life was mine,
Before man came to the forest.
Was resting in my den,
When men with rifles came.

I think there were ten,
They wished to make me tame.

But tame I wished not to be,
I charged with all my might,
At the men sipping on tea,
They knew not how to fight.

Then a man his rifle did fire,
His aim was perfect.
I collapsed with tire,
Got wounded in my leg.

They hauled me into a truck,
I tried to paw them.
But soon I ran out of luck,
And was locked in a cage.

Tire and wounds of me got better,
I fell asleep like a log.
There were people hither and thither,
Taking away many a scared dog.

I woke up with a start,
Found I was in a zoo.
I saw many people near the cart,
Knew not with me what to do.

Then came a man bespectacled,
Said I was majestic,
Said I ought to be housed here,
In a cage not but fantastic.

Soon a barred vehicle arrived,
They hauled me into it,
Don’t know what pleasure they derived,
From torturing me the way they did.

The vehicle started with a jump,
I was given a shock,
And when came a bump,
I coughed with fear.

Soon, a barred house I saw,
With many a tiny room,
But no place to sharpen my claw,
It was filled with gloom.

Into the cage I was pushed,
I roared at my loudest.
But me they only hushed,
And served me a bit of meat.

Oh! What meat it was!
Staler than the stalest bread,
Oh! How bitter it was!
More bitter than a neem leaf.

I decided to doze,
But there was no way I could,
For men threw many a stone,
And woke me up for good.

Now I am as thin as a needle,
Starved to death like a beggar.
I lead a life idle,
With no deer to hunt.

What of my spouse I know not,
Nor of my little sons,
But God, you are to be blamed for this.
Oh, God! You were faultless once,
But now, you are not.

You have sinned,
Because you created man,
Who has us to death pinned.
And you are the lone culprit,
For our miserable lives,
They say a cat has nine lives?