rare video of snow leopard family

One of the poems in Candle, Thread, and Flute that I always get a lot of reaction to is “Snow Leopard, Bronx Zoo,” in which a mother snow leopard mourns that her zoo-born daughters can only

bound over unnatural boulders

to the tops of unnatural crags

whose mitigated steepness assures survival,

whose artifice conceals the cage doors.

Here is a wonderful video from the Snow Leopard Trust, filmed in Kyrgyzstan, that shows the life my snow leopard mother wishes for her family–and that I wish for all of these beautiful, amazing cats:

a sonnet for the Winter Solstice


Our ancestors in their simplicity,

we hear, believed the spent midwinter sun

would die at last and never rise again

without their rites—so every turning of

the seasons had its keeping and its forms,

and failure in them meant the end of all.

“Now we know better”—or do we know less?

In the pattern’s loss, what have we gained?

The days we set aside to mourn the sun

or drive the cattle through the fires or bless

the fields joined our spirits, bodies, minds

to the moving heart of all. We did not turn

the earth upon its axis—what we turned,

and still might turn, was purely our own souls.

(from Candle, Thread, and Flute)