Friday, June 17, 2005

Tiger trilogy Part 2: A shadow in the forest

A half-starved mahout
On his great grey beast
Lumbering slowly through green fields
Waving under a bright sun.

A well trod path
He takes, to return
To his village, from whence he came,
In the morning, with his huge friend.

The jungle nears
He has heard talk
Of a demon
With green eyes and fangs
Who feeds on poor people
God help them!

The jungle draws closer
He mutters incantations
And invokes the name of god
To drive off the demon.

The jungle enfolds him
Shivering he peeps
Past bushes and creepers
And starts at everything
As his beast lumbers slowly

A rustle in the grass!
Is it he?
But no, ‘tis but a bird
Aflight, and calling
His mate to come

But what was that?
A flash of green, a glint of white
A shadow flying like the breeze?
‘Tis he!
He comes now,
He of the angel’s beauty and the devil’s twisted mind
He that strikes terror
As if with his claws
Deep into the hearts of men
Who fear unknown,
The demon! He comes!
Death in its greatest beauty
But little for those its jaws embrace
He comes!

Where is the fleeting shadow?
Is that rustle but of the breeze?
Are those his markings or shadows waving
Are those mortal eyes that shine so green?

Where is the shadow who hunts me?
Where be the tooth and the fang?
Where is death inexorable
Made by immortal hands?

Faster he comes now and faster
Seeking my blood and my bones
Shadows so dreadful leap before mine eyes
How much longer till this life is gone?

Shadows are now all around me
Darkness and Death now approach
His image leaps now all about me
Be there a glimmer of hope?

He leaps!
But it cannot be!
He leaps!
But he leaps not at me!

His jaws seek no human blood
‘Tis not for me he craves
A swift-footed deer is all he seeks
The jungle lord’s lawful prey

Come streaming now, sunlight and freedom
Freedom from a merciless death
Come flooding the joy of living
Comes fast and relieved my breath.

The mahout leaves the jungle
To leave his village no more
He will not chance the game with Death
A wise man is he now.

The jungle lord, in shadows grey
Green eyes blink but once
He lays himself down and slowly starts
To eat his lawful prey.


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