Seer-Lion #poetry #poem

‘It is said that at the end of the world, a White Lion will roar for the last time – heralding the disappearance of the sun from the sky for all time.’ Linda Tucker, The Mystery of the White Lions

Seer-lion gowned in white
find us in our depth of night
pierce our hearts with sapphire eyes
divine for us, as sunlight dies.

In what starscape were you born?
From what dimension ripped, or torn?
And at what moment since that birth
were you cast down to this base earth?

What the reason for the fall?
To warn, or scorn, or save us all?
And do we see your fallen star,
or have we fallen once too far?

In what depth of blindness dwells
that fire in us, which blithely kills
all earthly creatures, great and small
yet thinks we can withstand the fall?

Should mankind snuff out your light
which candle-like defies the night
will we weep such waste to see
or claim some pyrrhic victory?

Seer-lion gowned in white
find us in our depth of night
pierce our hearts with sapphire eyes
which now fall blind, as starlight dies.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

Written for Earthweal

Sherry is hosting Earthweal’s weekly challenge, and has asked us to be inspired by white lions:

‘Aboriginal people believe the white lions are “Star lions”, having spiritual powers. Linda [Tucker] studied with shaman Credo Mutwa, who told her the legend of blue-eyed beings who came from the stars, according to the Great Knowledge. The white lions are believed to be connected to those long-ago visitors.’

Of course, being what we are, we have hunted them to the verge of extinction. The quote I have used as an epigraph to the poem was also provided by Sherry, from a book which I most certainly want to read now.

This celestial creature imbued with divine prophetic powers immediately brought to mind Blake’s Tyger, which I used as the basis of this poem, as anyone familiar with it should recognise.

36 thoughts on “Seer-Lion #poetry #poem

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  1. The lion in the image you chose looks so worried, Ingrid, I want to stroke him and tell him everything will be alright. But we can never promise that, because we can’t trust other human beings not to hunt or endanger them. I love the way you based your poem, the rhythm, rhyme, questions and circularity on Blake’s. I especially love:
    ‘In what starscape were you born?
    From what dimension ripped, or torn?’

  2. ‘In what starscape were you born?
    From what dimension ripped, or torn?
    And at what moment since that birth
    were you cast down to this base earth?’
    This is a gorgeous poem Ingrid — the above verse standing out for me especially. I think you have captured the apocalyptic times in which we live beautifully and hauntingly… yet we should still expect the unexpected, for good will triumph in the end.

  3. A great take which took the reader a the journey. Somewhere along the way the reader was companion with the lion; seeing through its eyes.

  4. Wish we’d had poems like this for A level English. Our former tutor, David Cliff would have approved I am sure.

  5. Oh, WOW! I am speechless at the beauty and the message of your poem. “From what starscape were you torn?” An absolutely gorgeous write, the more so for its pitch-perfect rhythm and rhyme. Your poem expresses the essence of the book and the lions’ – and our human – plight. To perfection. You will love the book, one of the most fascinating ones I have ever read. I may need to read it again soon. SO glad you wrote this most beautiful poem for the prompt.

  6. Oh for the White Lion and your poetry Ingrid… both of you roar your beautiful hearts with those saphire eyes. May the candelight burn brightly so we can hold his spirit of all that walked before us and come to our senses so we can stop the tragedies of hunting such a sacred soul. xoxo 👏👏👏💖

  7. A compelling poem that calls the spirit of the majestic lion and calls out humans for “our” treatment of an animal that should be respected and protected (by everyone). A fine job emulating Blake’s style. I have looked closely into the sapphire eyes of a lion – a moment I will never forget. We were separated by bars, but it was still terrifying for me, sad for the lion, living a life behind bars.

    1. Thank you, Michele! I’ve never looked into a white lion’s eyes but seeing a regular lion and hearing him roar was humbling enough!

      1. That roar! Skin-crawling. The majestic lion I saw was not a white lion – I wish! It was a regular lion with amber sapphire eyes. Still impressively beautiful and impressively terrifying!

      2. I can imagine it was! My youngest son was only 18 months when he heard the lion roar and it haunted him for a long time.

      3. Poor little guy. I understand. My daughter was terrified of fireworks. She hid under my chair every Fourth of July for the first five years of her life.

  8. You picked up the rhythm of Blake’s poem immaculately, enseaming the wild praise of the former with the starker brute reality of present loss (well done). It calls on one to write wildly within close metric bars. For me the two work well together so well to achieve the full effect of the white lion’s blue eyes. And lower our heads with shame.

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