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Sultan

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 ~
Maybe 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.

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
This story is based on a real argument I had with a zoo keeper at the (now defunct) Tower Zoo, Blackpool, England. I was aged just 9 years at the time (my 9th. birthday) in 1960. I had seen lions in books and on safari films on TV but this was the first time I had ever seen a real live(?) enormous, fully grown lion. His name was Sultan.
Editing stage: 

Comments

Is a very popular name in the Arab world. I can relate to your experience as a child Alan. A very touching piece.

Here are some thoughts on the poem:
First, I thought there are some awkward lines with forced ending rhymes especially in the 2nd stanza.(imo)
Second, in line 2 Stanza 3.... did you want [could] hardly.....or maybe I am missing something?

As I said this is an enjoyable read on many levels as it takes us to our childhood days.
Thanks for sharing

❤❤❤❤❤❤

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words
........Robert Frost☺

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Yes I think Sultan is a noble name in honour of an Arab 'King'. Your thoughts on the piece are most useful to me.
I tried to write this with a child in mind (I miss-spelt 'aminals' deliberately to get the reader into the narrator being a 9 year old) so this is why I also deliberately miss-grammatically used 'couldn't hardly roar'.

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Critique is a compliment
Kind regards, Alan
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author comment

Letting a child to be the narrator is absolutely a good idea. I think you still need to show this all through not only through one or two words plus you need to keep in mind that a nine year-aged child probably speaks more like adults rather than let's say three or four years aged children.
Just what I thought.

❤❤❤❤❤❤

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words
........Robert Frost☺

Follow me
www.instgram.com/rularules1

Rula. You have some good ideas. Thanks for being helpful on this.

.......................................
Critique is a compliment
Kind regards, Alan
.......................................

author comment

a powerful poem this is, and sad as well; seeing a powerful animal incarcerated is depressing to me, and that is why I shy away from visiting a zoo. And yet, I know that Sultan probably lived a long life, safe from poachers. Nice job.
Jerry

I guess I have always been used to animals and birds free ranging where ever they live. Freedom is such a valuable thing.

.......................................
Critique is a compliment
Kind regards, Alan
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author comment

Your poem is very compassionate, especially so coming from a child. I look back on my childhood and see the same scenarios - the zoo, the circus, even the way domestic pets were treated. We humans have come a long way, with a long way to go. I am glad younger people are given better insight and information about wildlife and the role humans play in the balance. Again, as in your other writings, I admire your structure / form. I tend to shy away from anything other than free verse, but hope to add rhyme at some point. I also hope other birthdays have been better!
Thank you!
L

Thanks for coming to read 'Sultan' and for your kind comments.
The Administrative Council, who are responsible for the area in which I live, prohibit the entry of caged animals into the area for the purpose of entertainment. Therefore when a circus visits they may only use clowns, jugglers, etc. Though everyone (especially children), never the less, seems to enjoy themselves.

.......................................
Critique is a compliment
Kind regards, Alan
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author comment

Excellent poem, Alan. I agree about changing one or two words, I'll have another look now. Yes, I can relate to your poetry, it brings back many childhood and adult memories. No circus came near our farm in Patagonia, but as an adult I visited the New York circus, I think it was called...oh dear, I've forgotten, but it was famous. Lots of elephants, poor things. I remember tigers, not lions, but that's just me. Also dogs...
I merely think you should tweak some words, such as about or around, that sort of thing. I like the child language. It's fitting. I loved all animals as a child and rode horses as from age 4 or so.

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The Poetry of the Earth is never Dead. John Keats.

I appreciate so much your expertise. I know a couple of things need tuning and what you say makes sense to me.
Thank you for calling in. Please stay well.

.......................................
Critique is a compliment
Kind regards, Alan
.......................................

author comment
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