Exploring Hanoi continues to throw up much food for thought. This week, among other places, I visited the Botanic Gardens which, I was surprised to realise, are withing walking distance of my apartment. It took me three weeks to realise there was a park with trees and lakes and nature so close to me. So, of course, I just had to go and visit it and spend a few hours walking and wondering.
My favourite thing there was the squirrels. We don’t have squirrels in Australia, so i was delighted when I spotted them here, running up and down trees, along branches and collecting food. the one in the photo below froze hen he realised I was watching him. I think he hoped that I would mistake him for part of the tree.
I love the way squirrels seem so busy – and, of course, their adorable fluffy tails! here’s my Squirrel Song:
So, with so much squirrel goodness, you would think I would have left the gardens happy. But I didn’t. Because not far from where I watched the squirrels was a cage. And in that cage, with a concrete floor, metal bars, and a tub of water, were several monkeys. Sad, overweight, apathetic monkeys. Obviously there to be looked at, and nothing more. I stood and watched them for a while, and cried. I told them how sorry I was that they were caged and I felt powerless to help them in any way. Here’s my Monkey Moan:
I have spent a lot of time thinking about these monkeys – and, my thoughts went to other caged animals. I know that zoos can play very important parts in education and even in preserving endangered species. But this was not a zoo. It was a cage of monkeys in a park. There was also a cage of peacocks. And around the world there are dolphins in tanks for entertainment, and all kinds of animals caged and restrained for people to enjoy. Heartbreaking. And something I will continue to ponder – knowing I am powerless to change everything but perhaps my power lies in raising awareness to make tiny changes.
On a brighter note, later in the week I walked past this fence line and was amazed to see the tree roots growing not under or over, but seemingly through the solid fence. Nature is resilient and very very clever. So here is the Tree’s Trill.
Sorry for a slightly depressing post this week. You are witness to my learning. For more poetry goodness, please visit the Poetry Friday roundup hosted by Jone at Deowriter.
PS. This post, and my visit to Hanoi, are made possible by the amazing Asialink Arts Program, and with the funding support of the the Western Australian Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.