03 June 2014

May I Come In? (Neither Lion nor Wolf, revisited)

He spoke to her in stories--metaphors. Lessons he wanted her to learn, from his own life and from the lives of others. He shared his wisdom, the wisdom of a life lived widely, the wisdom passed down for generations, all lilting, lulling her with his storyteller's voice.

He told her of wolves, though he was, himself, a lion. How could a lion know the plight or pleasure of a wolf? She longed to be a wolf, would forsake all she possessed, or may possess, in this world and all others, to have a pack to call her their own, bound by blood and the savage solemnity of the slaughter. Loyalty of like calling to like.

She was no wolf, nor was ever meant to be. She was no more wolf than he. Nor was she like him. It was not in her heart or her soul to be leonine. She dreamt of dragons and the lonely freedom of flight. The awe of flame and ash. Also did she dream of fleet-footed felines, the ferocious hunters, sovereigns among beasts, who were her namesake. But she was dedicated to a god she did not know, had never known--could never know. How then could she claim her place as his lioness?

No, a lion she was not; her name was a mistake--a lie--a false face. She knew she must doff it to find her true self: being neither lion nor wolf, having neither pride nor pack. Where then was she to find her place? She embraced the madness, cloaked herself in its name, submitted to its siren song, and set off, armed this time, no longer the questing child. All she had left was a single thread of hope, holding above her head Damocles' own sword, that she would find where she fitted, she she would slide into place, the piece, whose coming would be celebrated, not as a prodigal return, but as a homecoming foretold and finally fulfilled.

02 June 2014

Neither wolf nor lion

He spoke to her
in stories--metaphors.
Lessons he wanted her
to learn, from his own life
and from the lives
of others. Wisdom shared
in the lull of his storytelling voice.

He told her of wolves,
but he was himself--a lion.
She wanted nothing more
than to be a wolf, to have
a pack that called her their own,
bound by blood and the solemnity
of the kill, and by the loyalty
of sameness.

She was no wolf, nor ever would be,
no more than he. She dreamt
of dragons, and the lonely freedom
of flight. She dreamt
of fleet-footed felines,
ferocious hunters that were her
namesake. But she was dedicated
to a god she did not know, had never
known. How, then, could she be
a lion?

No, a lion she was not. Her name
was a lie, a false face.
She knew she must doff it
and search for her true self:
being neither lion nor wolf,
having neither pride nor pack.
All she wanted was to find
where she fitted, where she slid
into place, the missing piece
whose return would be celebrated
To come home, not again, but finally.

01 June 2014

No one told me...

The lessons I have learnt in my life have been myriad; some have been simple, others have been profound, some difficult, and others simply requiring a nod of the head before moving on. The hardest lessons were always the ones I was not prepared to learn. The ones that came without warning. Sailors, they say, keep close watch on the sky because she will tell them everything they need to know to keep themselves afloat. A story I read a long time ago says that the skies and the winds over land are inconsistent, shifting, and do not give us the warning that sailors have learnt, and passed on through the centuries.

Sometimes I feel like my gatekeeping tasks have me locked in a tower, watching the sky, but I don't know what I'm looking for. Is that cloud formation dark because the sun is going down? Is it shifting to the east or to the south? I get distracted by the lightning and the pageantry of the moon, and by the time the storm hits, I haven't rung any bells, I haven't sounded the alarms, and the air raid sirens are silent. What good am I, as a gatekeeper, then? What good am I as a sentinel? My watch began without instruction, and continues without guidance. I do not have the knowledge and skills passed down from generations past. I have not the preparation or the instincts to know when to raise the alarm. How, then, am I to succeed?