Playa Bonita, Puerto Limón

Playa Bonita, Puerto Limón

In the grounds of the Hotel Matama
           the air heavy with the fragrance
of white lilies and snapdragons
           and orchids and roses 
but set apart in a stony clearing
           there was a caged ocelot
its smooth tawny fur
           covered in a tangle
of black stripes and bars
           and chains and spots

the iron bars on all four sides
           of the cage offered no shelter
from the heat of the sun
           and as the day drew on
its nostrils were taunted
           by the rising scent
of the rolling sea
           and of the wild rainforest
to the rear where it should
           have been free to roam
and to hunt by night

back and forth I saw it pace
           its majestic muscular pride
so cruelly and hopelessly curtailed
           as in silence its paws 
pounded the sad dry dust
           of its humiliation

but at night
           as the moon rose
and stars filled the barren skies
           its howls could be heard
for miles around
           and they pierced my heart

John Lyons


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