Alan .S. Jeeves


The place was called the Tower Zoo

In Blackpool by the sea;

I went there with grandfather who

Showed aminals to me.

I was but a boy then

Around about age nine,

The day would be my birthday when

He said the day was mine.


We strolled around the cages,

We looked at creatures grand;

We walked about for ages,

He held me by the hand.

And suddenly I saw him,

The saddest sight I'd seen

A dozing beast, forlorn and grim,

A king without a queen.


A sedated lion lying

Within a prison small;

I recall that I was crying,

I felt my teardrops fall.

Sultan was the lion's name,

His nameplate told me so;

I asked the keeper "What's your game?"

"He has no room to grow".


He rejoined "A full grown big cat!"

(He ought to be ashamed);

He told me that the cat was at

The zooland to be tamed.

I wondered what the hell it was

Coaxed punters pay to see,

I remember thinking this because

They should have set him free.


I gazed in awe at his great size

My soblets dripped like rain;

I heeded his half open eyes,

His regal tail and main.

I thought this day should, for me, be

The merriest I had had,

But it emerged to be, for me,

The saddest of sad ~ sad.


The king was drowsing, half asleep,

He couldn't hardly roar.

Nor raise a murmur ~ not a peep,

He couldn't even snore.

Although an infant I still knew

(These thoughts were in my head);

I still knew a thing or two ~

May be the better dead.


But now so many years have passed

I still detect a chill;

An image that will last and last...

I muse about him still.

Though he is lost to better things,

As noble as can be;

This mighty Sultan ~ king of kings

Will always be with me.



  • dusk arising

    A sad tribute to Sultan but more especially we see your early disgust with the essence of 'zoo' credibility. I must state that i find such establishments abhorrent. They not only are outdated but demonstrate there are still those among us who have no respect for the wonderful life forms of elsewhere. With high definition television so readily available to see beasts in their natural habitat why should we be exhibiting distressed, bored, mentally disturbed examples in the flesh.
    Yes i have strong feelings on the subject and i salute you for raising it here.
    Presented in a very readable an entertaining piece to stir anyones angst with captive animals.

    • Alan .S. Jeeves

      Thank you for your understanding of these verses DA. I was raised in a small hamlet of half a dozen cottages, a pub, and surrounded by 9 farms. I grew up with wildlife and sometimes travelled the mile to school on a horse (Winston) who would either go home on his own or would be collected within half an hour by the returning (horse drawn) milk cart. All the animals there were free ranging and I could see them all smiling when the sun came up. So you can imagine my birthday horror when I encountered Sultan the Leo, nose to tail against his steel bars. I shall say no more...

      Kind regards, Alan

    • thisismyidentity

      This is empathetic and so visual. I was at the zoo with you! Loved it.

      • Alan .S. Jeeves

        Thank you for your kind comment. I hope it was the poem you loved and not the zoo. Welcome to MPS ~ Enjoy.

        Kind regards, Alan

        • thisismyidentity

          It most certainly was the poem - not the zoo! Thank you for the warm welcome. (:

        • 1 more comment

        • orchidee

          A fine write Alan. Oh yes, and circus animals too. Do we weep always? Sometimes rage?!

          • Alan .S. Jeeves

            Good to see you're okay Steve. Our local council, Kirklees Council, doesn't allow circus' to visit the area with captive animals included. Any visiting circus must be animal free. Of course they don't mind the clowns being kept in cages so that's fair.

            Ex animo, Alan

          • Fay Slimm

            So near an experience I once had in a Cornish Zoo and like you I cannot think to this very day of the perpetual running around a small cage by a beautiful creature to find a way out..........I never went there again but the scene never leaves me - - your Sultan deserves this sad tribute and story of a compassionate lad who exposed the shame on those who abused him - - - - what a birthday shock that must have been for you Alan....

            • Alan .S. Jeeves

              From time to time you see, on films or TV, a story where an estranged dad has his child for the day and can't think where to take them so where do they go? ~ to the zoo. For your experience, just like mine, there is only one way out!
              Thanks for visiting today Fay. I'm pleased that you never went near your zoo again.

              Ex animo, Alan

            • Goldfinch60

              Such a good write, the horror of zoos is with me as well, unless they are keeping some animals to protect the species from those ******s who want to kill them to extinction.
              It must be wonderful to watch these animals in the wild, I get so much pleasure in watching wild animals in the UK but to see the wonder of lions and tigers etc in there natural habitat.
              Yes I remember Armond and Michaela Denis!


              • Alan .S. Jeeves

                You are so right Andy. As DA says you can observe wildlife in it's natural habitat in your own armchair, in stunning definition, these days (the Denis programs were grainy B&W weren't they?).
                Also in the 21st. century it is not beyond the reach of more and more people to to book a 'safari' holiday in, say Africa, and go and shoot as many animals as you like ~ with your camera!

                Ex animo, Alan

                • Goldfinch60

                  "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time"

                • 1 more comment

                To be able to comment and rate this poem, you must be registered. Register here or if you are already registered, login here.