The lions at Trafalgar Square in London,
in quartier Montparnasse and all over Paris, lions
at the tomb of King Richard in the Rouen Cathedral,
the Tiergarten park and the Museum Island in Berlin.
They guard the Chain Bridge in Budapest, the entrance
to the Royal Palace of Brussels; slumber
at the foot of the Columbus monument in Barcelona,
daydream at the Marquise Pombala square in Lisbon.
Long ago their gaze of stone escorted the grand ships
of East – India Company out of Port of Amsterdam.
We have more of them here than in Africa and India.
The capitals of the former European Empires
are not adorned with dolphins or birds, but lions,
whose strength is in their loneliness.
One harsh winter as a twelve year old
I went ice skating in park near our ZOO.
On the frozen lake no one but me.
Sliding under one of the bridges
I felt the presence of a lion.
Through the snow frosted trees
I could barely see the winter’s den
but the lion’s roar frightened me
and made me return to where I started.
But when it seems that they see you, you’re wrong,
lions are actually looking straight through your bones,
through the walls, bars and trees, across the lake
where I skated and all the way over the Roman Colosseum
towards the wilderness carved deeply into their memory,
their gaze steadfastly rooted to the grasslands of Africa
before the colonies.