Friday was the Day of the Monkey. This brought to mind a certain event that happened maybe 12 or more years ago. I could not fact any references to this orangutan on the net so I could not completely flesh out this memory. But, there’s not a day that I don’t remember this meeting and this question of why and how we could ever do something so heartless to an animal we had professed to love when she was a baby.
Ode To An Orangutan In My Thoughts by Michael Romani In the days of my childhood Not to seem trite, but, it was understood That there would be a common good If we could talk with animals we knew Not just in Doctor Doolittle's Hollywood But, something more real and true As a young man watching Cousteau on TV It seemed a practical dream of our biology Almost as if an intervention into humanity As though we might be closer to divinity That is, of course, until watching Planet of the Apes As a series and then quietly putting away my capes No longer convinced we were super let alone supermen But that the dividing line wore ultra thin Watching from the distance as we taught ASL To Koko and others whose words still reveal That we humans aren't the only ones with a soul It left me wondering how the world is in our control Day to day life seemed to get in the way And as time drifted on, I found other things to say Still memories of surfing dolphins at Chinaman's Hat Kept in mind all of the world's niches as that It seemed to me that other animals to indeed talk And we humans have stopped listening; thick as rocks Forty years on at some half forgotten Ohio zoo I met an orangutan, more human than me and you She was locked in a cage by herself as one Trapped between raised as human; the damage was done Her humans wouldn't keep her out of their base fear And her kind didn't want her not anywhere near I read her sad story for what it might just tell Our beastly inhumanity is what it seemly revealed To raise one up and the sell her out of convenience Was less than pristine and lacking in brilliance She was not responsible for being that step between And the truth is, she didn't know what it means There was a look of loneliness in her sweet eyes Deeper than the incisor cuts hidden by disguise Her soul seemed to reach out and into mine Maybe it was a shared experience we couldn't define That at the glass we stood eye to eye, hand to hand Both of us knowing what others pretend to understand Her hurt and feeling so intensely scared and lost My heart pounding, breaking at man's folly's cost We stood there palm to palm as if kin to kin Each of us disguised by the thin veneer of our skin Her heart calling out, "do not leave me, I am lonely" Myself having felt my own pain deep inside of me Her eyes called out filled with grace and deep beauty But, I had to go as it was my lot and human duty Swearing aloud that I would come back once again I have not seen her in person; not since then But in my mind and in my soul, I question why And my tears are my only reply (c) December 14, 2019 Michael Romani All Rights Reserved