by Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950)
Have you stood in front of the iron bars,
And watched the lion look over your head?
He sees the palm-tree and the mate,
And the waste of the tawny desert!
Are you moved by the music, or the concourse
Of melodious words?
But how are you moved except for life
That made a self of you, responding
To sounds or scenes of remembered places,
Or other spheres, perhaps?
Life is a cage! Beauty a vision
Of a freedom once enjoyed.