The Woman At The Washington Zoo
The saris go by me from the embassies.
Cloth from the moon. Cloth from another planet.
They look back at the leopard like the leopard.
And I. . . .
this print of mine, that has kept its color
Alive through so many cleanings; this dull null
Navy I wear to work, and wear from work, and so
To my bed, so to my grave, with no
Complaints, no comment: neither from my chief,
The Deputy Chief Assistant, nor his chief--
Only I complain. . . . this serviceable
Body that no sunlight dyes, no hand suffuses
But, dome-shadowed, withering among columns,
Wavy beneath fountains--small, far-off, shining
In the eyes of animals, these beings trapped
As I am trapped but not, themselves, the trap,
Aging, but without knowledge of their age,
Kept safe here, knowing not of death, for death--
Oh, bars of my own body, open, open!
The world goes by my cage and never sees me.
And there come not to me, as come to these,
The wild beasts, sparrows pecking the llamas' grain,
Pigeons settling on the bears' bread, buzzards
Tearing the meat the flies have clouded. . . .
When you come for the white rat that the foxes left,
Take off the red helmet of your head, the black
Wings that have shadowed me, and step to me as man:
The wild brother at whose feet the white wolves fawn,
To whose hand of power the great lioness
Stalks, purring. . . .
You know what I was,
You see what I am: change me, change me!
Randall Jarrell's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (The Woman At The Washington Zoo by Randall Jarrell )
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
- Alone And Drinking Under The Moon, Li Po
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
Poem of the Day
- Tuavatara!, Ravikumar C.P.
- Mystery Caller, Ravikumar C.P.
- Do, my dear, gajanan mishra
- Cinders of Life, Tim Labbe
- Aiy Mere Khuda Aiy Mere Khuda, Akhtar Jawad
- State of being, Ravikumar C.P.
- Flight, S.Michael Kozubek
- Undoubtedly something has gone wrong, Ravikumar C.P.
- Fire brand - Judge, gajanan mishra
- One grid, hasmukh amathalal