Predatory Cats, Predatory Men

There among the green grass of my backyard
in the bright sunshine of a hot summer’s day
is played out a drama as poignant, as cruel
as any ever witnessed on the African plains
with lions and gazelles as the participants.

A pair of sparrows is noisily encouraging
their offspring in its efforts to fully master
the art of flight. The young bird flutters here,
then there – unsteady, struggling for control.
It lands hard on the yard, exhausted and
bewildered, as the parents chirp close by.

Danger! The neighbors’ cat – black of fur,
black of heart – stalks the helpless youngster,
closing in for the kill when the mother sparrow
flies in the face of the cat, diverting its attention.
For this she dies a swift death by claws and teeth.

Was she heroic? Did she act knowingly out of love?
Or blindly out of instinct? And what of the cat?
It is well fed. It killed so eagerly not from hunger,
not for survival but merely because it can…or must.
It is a cruel predator simply because it is a cat,
a cat ruled by instinctive behavior, not by choice.

But what of those men who hold power over others
and who wield it callously to dampen their dreams,
to injure their careers? Are they not doubly damned
for their predatory ways because they have not
the excuse of instinct, for their actions are ruled
by choice. No cat are they…their cruelty cannot
be excused -- for their cruelty is entirely self-willed.

True cruelty resides not in the heart of a predatory cat
but abounds within the heart of a predatory man.

Harry Edward Gilleland      05.12.04