Poems of the Week

Cassowary Kills Owner

by Ed Shacklee

She killed her owner—a misnomer:
nor can you call her cage a home. Her
nature’s free, her aspect fierce.
Her head is blue. Her claws can pierce.
Her beak can rend, her outrage slay,
and plans will often gang aglay,
as Burns about a mouse might say.

How could a man, so old and frail,
outface a bird he kept in jail?
Though he did so to keep her safe,
how could she know; who would not chafe
to be so circumscribed and bounded?
Her kindly captor died, astounded,
within a park he’d named and founded

when, stumbling as he brought her rations,
she surpassed his expectations.
For he was kind, but she was prisoned:
though this was not what he envisioned,
she was amoral as the fairies,
and this dénouement seldom varies
when men grow fond of cassowaries.