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Tears Of The Lion

Written by Paul Landis Delaune

     The gray clouds hang low in the sky and the chill of rain bites the swirling air.  No rain
has fallen for hours, though traces of moisture dot the leaves of the green foliage about me.
Occasionally, I see a bird in flight or hear the buzz of an anxious insect hurrying by or some
feathered cry.  Within this dank, quiet setting do I find myself, as theworld itself seems to
reflect my somber mood.

     I walk slowly amidst the low shrubbery and fragrant grass in silent contemplation.  I am
tired, very tired,though recently I slept.  But the peace of sleep eludes me and a cloak of
anguish clutches my anxiousheart.  At times, I pause to ruefully glance about me or to stare
into the discontented air, alone in my sadness.

     The wilderness is my home; rarely do my feet venture into the streets of men.  And then
only by moonlight.  For I am a beast with an appearance men fear.  But in my bosom beats a
heart gentle and kind.  It is my heart that lifts my spirit above the rank of the beasts and gives
my soul its thirst for the pleasures of men.  

There have been times when others were near me and I see fear in their eyes, like the fear of a
doe startled by a hungry lion.  My gentle soul becomes filled with sorrow at the sight of such
apprehension within others.  If only they could see with their heart, not their eyes, for the eyes
oftensee so little of what is genuine and true.

     Life in the wilderness is both a blessing and a curse.  The solitude is my refuge from the
winds of turmoil that can batter my soul.  Here I renew myself and find peace in this turbulent
world. However, it is lonely, very lonely.  And it is this loneliness that often brings me frustration
and discontent.  Often I yearn for the company, and the love, of a beautiful woman.  Little have
I enjoyed such in my life.

     At times in this solitude I have enjoyed a womanís presence and shared the tenderness of
affection and the heat of passion.  But infrequent have these occasions been, and brief.
Though a few women have found me desirable, most shun my countenance.  I understand
theirhesitation; I have no illusions about myself.

     Love is my highest ideal, but often the fires of passion must be quenched.  To deny myself
this satisfaction is most difficult.  But its heat has been shared when no love burned within my
breast.  Then has discontent been the fruit of that sharing, breeding callousness in my
thoughts and words.  My soul shrinks from such unfeeling behavior, but still the
evil was my doing.

     Thus, I began to believe I, in truth, bore the heart of a beast.  For no one of noble heart
would cause the pain and anguish I wrought. Into the deepest shadows of the forest, the
remotest deserts of the wilderness do I seek to lose myself, as I ponder the brutality of my
behavior.  Do I not only bear the visage of a beast but the soul as well?  Such questions
plague me as I endeavor to purge the stain of this evil from myself.

     I lose myself in the solitude of my loneliness and am wary of excursions into the realm of
men. I refrain from heeding the fire of my loins and allow myself not to follow the yearnings of
my heart.  The loneliness is terrible, but it must be endured; it must be controlled. It must not
influence my deeds.

     The loneliness is very difficult to bear.  From deep within myself, living fire surges and
burns with the power of an exploding volcano.The flames reach high within me, consuming
my very soul in the inferno. Within this storm of passion I sink into a fiery pit of torment.

     Hellís gates open and the tongue of the dragon drags me into its fiery belly of anguish.  In
this living fire, my skin, my bones, my flesh burn; my blood oozes and boils, as the horrid
stench threatens to strangle my frightened spirit.  My soul screams its pain and desperation,
but only the devils of my own loneliness hear my pitiful, silent cries.

     In the mirror that is my soul I gaze into the face of desperation, but I must not succumb to its
embracing stare, for it is the mask of doom, laughing at my misfortune.  To flee into thoughtless
passion is to pursue past mistakes.  In this maze of madness I dance a familiar labyrinth
upon a path hated and feared.  Painful is the ordeal; may the gods give me strength!

     Eventually, the old dragon belches me from its evil maw and spews me out into the
sunís inspiring brightness.  Once again my relieved spirit basks in the pleasure of life.  I breathe
a sigh of relief, thankful the ordeal is past, and hoping there will be no more periods of
such loneliness.

     Honored Eros, will not my passionate heart find peace in its affection and passion?  Am I
cursed not only with the appearance of a beast but with the discontented lust of one as well?  Is
my heart truly one of a beast?  Must I continue to bear such discontent and loneliness?  Ah, if
this is so, can I endure such madness?!