Dormant, Couchant, Sejant, Rampant

Way too much essay writing recently, which has been my daily regimen the last couple days. Here’s a poem.

Dormant, Couchant, Sejant, Rampant

What moves a lion?
Or, rather, what makes a lion move?
Lazily lounged on some proud rock
or nestled in soft long grass
on a bright hot day 
soothed in gentle breeze.
Safe, so safe, such a mighty beast
not bound by other beings on the chain.
What could trouble a lion to stir from sleep
rising from a soft spot of ground
to leave his dozing wives and children?

Deep in the countryside in a kingdom of his own,
resting in the stillness of the day and the songs of birds
beneath the shady limbs of a baobab,
with meals earned by the labors of others
and the luxury to pardon passing beasts,
why, why, would the lion ever move
unless bid, unless made, to do so?
And yet they do.

Unless an illiterate beast put forth such a lie 
to fool nations, gods and kings, knights and athletes 
into striding forth with a flowing mane and regal posture
claiming nobility for a scared kitty with unwieldy hair.
I doubt this is the case. Sometime the lion had better
stand up and 
roar.

And roar they do,
shattering the African night
knocking jackals back
instilling fright in cackling hyenas
smashing leopards' courage to pieces
and making great beasts a rotten feast for vultures.
A snarling smile of sabers and swinging fists of scimitars
giving way to thunderous voice and clapping paws.
Bunched sinews and hulking mass a
swishing tail wishing for a fight.
A battle royal with royalty is a route to the boneyard.
One could see a single lion
with his pride backed into a corner
raging against a score of foes
scourging all who tread past bark for bite.

So when he could lounge, tired on a sun-loved day,
what beckons a beast who could lunge through fire
to rise and fill the frame of a monarch
with such a kingly disposition?

Perhaps,
for those with an oft-whispered roar
reposing in languid indolence 
under jet black quilts of vespers-
perhaps
for them it is to waylay the suicide of the soul
and trade lazy dreams and the nightmare of daily regicide
and the burden of bearing two weighty prides
and the heavy head of crown-wearing
for the chance to, at the stirring of the soul
but toss back their head and howl 
an air-rending call to heaven:

"I am Resolved! 
to live! 
to live with all my might! 
while I do live!"

This resolution - this sixth - it is sweeter.
Perhaps man could learn something from a man-eater.

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