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Autobiography of a Madman

My Lion

There is a lion at my window
With burning breath and mane of flame
And eyes like scarlet suns
That puts its paws upon my pane.

Perhaps it is a friendly lion
Some are, I've heard, when you know their name
A friendly lion perhaps
Whom I might love and tame.

With a single bound it enters
Amid the scattered glass
Pieces, priceless, everywhere
Like a crystal vase.

We wrestle for a while
Its giant paws and me
Till I recall
Some words of wisdom
Whispered secretly:

'Two ways to kill a lion:
One is easy, one is hard.'

"THE EASY, BY GOD!", I cry.
Whereupon comes quick reply
'Rip out its heart!'

The beast rears and roars and bears its claws
I screw my eyes, clench my fist
To plunge it through the creature's cage...

...Then, through shattered ribs
I feel the sinews of its heart
Twist and shudder on my wrist.

Its mane shrinks back
Its bones fall in
Its eyes go cool and dim

Amid the blood and bones and half-remains
(O sad refrain)
The mangled joints of my sweet sister
Mine own dear twin!
Lie prostrate on the floor
Alas, and I recalled
A better way to kill a lion:

'To pull a truth from the jaws of pain.'

But lo, my life quick-come, quick-passed
It was too late for me, and it, and her
And all those who stood at the window, and laughed.

Ch 1 English in the Library
Ch 2 Prisoner
Ch 3 What Can I
Ch 4 Orchard
Ch 5 Broken Brain
Ch 6 Cut-glass Universe
My Lion