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The Lion

by Zettel 

Posted: 28 July 2007
Word Count: 94
Summary: Three separate but linked poems

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The Lion

He is an old lion
but he still
kills his own food

The old lion lies languidly
before another parting sun
He has watered
he has fed
Contentedly he stretches
to his full
still powerful extent
He has hunted
the guile of age
disdaining the extravagance
of youthful speed
He has satisfied
his hungry love of life
with time-defying pride
in the courage
passion and desire
to stay alive
now his lioness
has gone

The old lion
when he could
no longer
kill his food
he'd pick a fight
to lose

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Comments by other Members

Okkervil at 16:06 on 28 July 2007  Report this post
Hmm- thoughtful, but also, well cool- 'specially that last verse. I reckon the middle bit swells a wee bit, compared to the tight verses that begin and end the piece, and think 'he is watered, he has fed' reads a little better. Also (not sure, but), I found the end of the second stanza a little tricky to make tidy sense of. Maybe with the help of punctuation or by some other means it could be made more straight forward? However, I am a little dense, so this may not be a pressing issue.

I really like it. There's a confidence here that's full of character; in the lion's case, if not confidence in ability, at least in his decisions. Reminded me of a scary ol' lion in a Peter Dickinson book I loved when I was wee.



Elsie at 16:25 on 28 July 2007  Report this post
Hi Zettel, these could so easily be one poem. I think punctuation would help, and I thin Okkervil is ight that the middle one could be slimmed down.

I wasn't sure if the first stanza is meant to be amusing - but I it made me wonder if old lions ever have someone kill their food for them - like a jungle meals on wheels?


ooh - the mystery of the missing consonants...

V`yonne at 19:32 on 28 July 2007  Report this post
I agree that the middle section could be leaner but I loved
the guile of age
replacing the extravagance
of youthful speed

and the last stanza shows his dignity and resignation. Loved it.

Tina at 10:33 on 29 July 2007  Report this post
I agree tooooo - that this could be one poem and has a lot of dignity for the old lion whiich is appealing. I especailly enjoyed these lines.

he has satisfied his hungry love
of exhilaration in his pride
in the courage necessary
to stay alive

I think that the middle section needs a bit of work but not too much as you have a quite well balanced piece at the moment.


Jordan789 at 21:35 on 01 August 2007  Report this post
I really like the ending, first off. Like Rocky Balboa gone out to fight the russian. It's a bad analogy, but people here in the states would follow. But, it's just what he has to do, because of the nature of the beast.

I like it. Would appeal to some rock music video being played on the discovery channel.

Only things I'd comment on is the nature of lions: primarily, female lions are the hunters, while the men play the role of defense and fornicator and lying in the sun.

Well, also, a bit of the second paragraph could probably be shaped better. Also, the word "languidly" strikes me as off for some reason. I'd axe 'er.

James Graham at 21:50 on 01 August 2007  Report this post
I agree that the second section could be made more concise. The contrast in the phrases 'guile of age' and 'youthful speed' is effective, but these two phrases would benefit from being closer together, and by somehow taking away the line between them, e.g.

youthful speed
giving way to the guile of age

The last four lines of the middle section are only four lines after all, but seem to go on too long. I would be tempted to leave a single line:

He has satisfied his hungry love.

This is a very resonant line, but the lines that follow it being more conventional in language seem to me to detract from it. Just by itself it suggests so much about the old lion that I think it does the work witout adding further lines.

On the idea of the old lion still killing his own food, doesn't it sometimes happen that an old lion (or lioness) unfit to bring down prey (e.g. because of arthritis!) will try to get a share of a kill brought in by another lion(ess)? The younger animal does the 'meals on wheels'.


Zettel at 23:29 on 03 August 2007  Report this post
Thanks everyone for the comments.

I am at war with punctuation in my poetry so have tried to accommodate those who wanted some with line breaks and capitals. The middle piece started life in the the more attentuated structure of the first and last. so to achieve the signals of meaning and rhythm you wanted I have opened it out a little to use line breaks to signal cadence and sense.

I also felt that the ending of the second stanza didn't quite express what I wanted to say well enough. In the re-jigging I have altered the tone a little. This was to try to hint a bit more, because no one has commented on it, that this is not intended to be just about lions.

Thanks again for so many thoughtful comments.


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