A few days ago,

While drifting away,

From this jungle of apes' descendants,

I wandered into a lion's den.

The king of animals,

Stately and noble,

Dignified in bearing,

Looked at me without being ruffled.

He was not a man eater,

Nor a wild prowler,

But generous and kind,

Though dominating by nature.

As it transpired,

He and I became friends,

And he taught me a lot more,

About the world and its people.

His cave was homely,

Not gaudy or shoddy,

Yet magnificent beyond words.

He lived there with his loyal lioness.

After the meeting,

While I was walking home,

I met a baboon who had been spying,

On me and the lion during our meeting.

I knew by instinct that,

He would have spread the word around,

About me and the king.

However I did not care,

And kept on walking.

After some time I saw a warthog,

He stopped me in my way,

And asked me about the meeting,

With the lord of the jungle.

He was keen to know,

If he had been discussed:

Whether the lion had talked about him,

And a lot more about the rare meeting.

I consoled him with a smile,

And replied that our meeting,

Had nothing to do with him.

Then we parted.

A little more time passed,

And an old camel came along,

He too asked about the meeting,

But he did not inquire much,

And looked convinced and easy,

When I conveyed,

That the lion did not discuss about him.

Then the camel went on his way,

As I went on mine.

A few hours later,

When the sun was high in the sky,

And the land became parched and dry,

I paused for some rest,

Under a lonesome shady tree.

And a wolf came along,

Looked at me from a distance,

Kept shaking his head now and then,

In the midst of his scavenging,

On morsels of leftovers,

Discarded by vultures.

Then slowly yet surely,

He came near and wagged his tail,

And sat a few feet away from me.

Then, sensing that I wasn't hostile,

He got up, came near and gazed,

His eyes trying to bore in deep,

Into my intentions,

As if making sure,

That I was harmless and would not hurt him.

Then he approached me and asked,

Just like the warthog and the camel did,

About my meeting with the lion --

With a marked emphasis,

On what was it all really about.

His voice was filled with malice,

For me and my presence, yet,

He kept on asking as to what went on,

During my discourse with the king.

I was familiar,

With the nature of this creature,

So I dealt with him accordingly.

Became more cunning than him,

Till he appeared fed up and tired.

He got up, coughed and scowled,

And left for more scavenging.

After rest I got up again,

And kept on marching,

Till I reached a waterhole where,

I saw a bison and a lamb,

Along with a wild boar,

And they were trying to please a snake,

A slithering, forked-tongue Adder.

Spotting me the snake slipped away.

And the others gathered around me,

Quite curiously,

Just like the warthog, the camel and the wolf.

I could not help thinking,

About the baboon,

What a master messenger he had been,

For having spread the word around,

About my meeting with the jungle king.

One by one, all these animals,

Asked me about our grand meeting.

And they were disappointed,

When I told them that,

Their good lord did not discuss them at all.

"Then what did he and you talk about?"

I turned around and saw a fox,

Who had sneaked there with his vixen.

He wanted to know more than the others,

About matters that did not concern him,

Or any of his kind in the dense jungle.

As this was happening,

I heard a great roar,

That apparently shook the ground,

And all the animals by the waterhole,

Jumped in mid-air and ran away.

The king had come there to drink water,

He looked at once more,

And then nodded his huge head.,

In his usual regal yet friendly manner.

Then, after quenching his thirst,

He gave another long glance at me,

And slowly trudged towards where I stood.

And for the second time that day,

Conveyed more wisdom through his wise eyes.

The king of the jungle passed on a message,

Not by a roar or a growl,

But telepathically.

He made me aware,

That the brave and the cowardly can't mingle,

That the noble and the lowly are never alike;

That just like the realm over which he ruled,

I too, while living,

Among the descendants of brutish apes,

Should stay aloof,

From the likes of the creatures I had met,

During my walk home.

The king conveyed this clearly

Adding furthermore

That the ways of human living

Were also like the jungle's

So I would be happy and peaceful,

If I acquired the wisdom

To stay away from the measly.

That only then will even I

Be far more successful

And rule over one and all

Just like him --

The king of the world.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Composed in Karachi, Pakistan, on 28.6.2008.
Readers will enjoy this poem more if they read between the lines and the metaphors...as this poem is allegorical.

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