THE PANTHER
Jardin des Plantes, Paris

His gaze has been so worn by the procession

Of bars that it no longer makes a bond.

Around, a thousand bars seem to be flashing,

And in their flashing show no world beyond.

The lissom steps which round out and re-enter

That tightest circuit of their turning drill

Are like a dance of strength about a center

Wherein there stands benumbed a mighty will.

Only from time to time the pupil's shutter

Will draw apart: an image enters then,

To travel through the tautened body's utter

Stillness -- and in the heart to end.