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January 2013, vol 8, no 4

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Peter Newton


I lived for ten years across the street from the Atlanta Zoo. A source of excitement for many people who visited but after awhile I started to think of it as the animal prison. Early on, it was fun to walk the outer wall of the giraffe enclosure just for the dog's when-aliens-attack response. And I enjoyed the exotic jungle sound of the peacocks roosting at night. Made me feel like I was in an old episode of Tarzan. But I could never get Rilke's panther1 out of my mind. Always something pacing back there. How he captures the essence of what it is to be wild. That primal will to live. A strength to keep moving. Now now now the only hope an animal knows.

the piped-in roar
of a lion

1. Rainer Maria Rilke, "The Panther."