Oh, ageing lioness!
moth-eaten and tooth-sore,
you’re restrained in a cage.
You have lost your fierce roar
and the fire in your eyes
has burnt down to embers.
The lush savanna grass
turned to dust in your claws.
The monkey from your back
picks gristle from your jaws,
and sings a lullaby
each night between your paws.

Kim M. Russell, 15th May 2019

Image result for paintings and artwork sad lioness
Image found on art.com

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: In My Element , also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Amaya is our host this week with an intriguing prompt that brings together Chinese philosophy, cosmology and the elements. She asks us if we have ever asked ourselves the question: “Of what am I made?” She says if so, we’re not alone: Vedanta philosophy, ancient Greece, modern atomic theory, and even the average inquisitive three-year-old have attempted to determine what it is that comprises our being and our universe. Primitive cosmologies found matter in the four basic elements of earth, air, water, and fire, with the later addition of aether, as well the Chinese also additions of metal and wood.

She would like us to do a little homework and discover what some of these cosmologies say about us. Depending on birth year, month, lunar month, or day, these systems attribute a dominant element to that time frame. We should explore one or more of the above systems and write poems about our elements, or even about the dance (or war) among all the elements as we view them within (or without) us.

35 thoughts on “Elemental

  1. Oh, Kim. I’m guessing you’re a leo? I don’t care, anyway, this is a great poem, transcending the prompt. There’s such tragedy in seeing a powerful animal caged and tamed. You capture it well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah. I’m a Leo but I shouldn’t have been, I was born several months too early and, apparently, I was in an incubator for a while. I sometime feel like that old lioness.


  2. That poor lioness! I hope she at least has memories of running free to keep her happy. At least the monkey is kindly company.

    LOL, my mother and my mother in law are Leos. That’s a sign that’s very, er, used to getting their own way. What a fun prompt! I’m bummed I missed out on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting that you see yourself this way, caged. I certainly don’t get that sense from regularly reading your poetry and getting to know you in our dVerse conversations. But if you are a Leo and a monkey, I’m pretty sure you’re also born a fire monkey, according to the Chinese calendar. That’s a lot of fiery spirit to contain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I panic in crowds and am not very good in social situations, so I spend a lot of time at home except for volunteer work with children in schools and at the library. I’d love to get out and about more.


  4. Your vivid images dance between dark fairy tale and magical realist living. I really like the last few lines, the way what used to be a burden–the monkey on her back–turns into something to nurture. It seems, that time and experience can tame anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Too bad about the cage but that’s the way it is for now. I caught a lot of flack for having posted a caged monkey that I had befriended. That aside, for me this was a fun read. I loved the monkey helping and the rhyme, irregular(?), helped make an easy read.

    Liked by 1 person

    But so glad I came to this today…..your words paint this aging lioness so very well.
    The last lines
    The monkey from your back
    picks gristle from your jaws,
    and sings a lullaby
    each night between your paws.” say so much to me…..perhaps using the “monkey on your back” metaphorically…as in the cares and worries and stresses…..finallly just turning into a lullaby…as in…aging means rest from those to-do lists (gristle in the jaw)…..oh I’m connecting with this one!

    Liked by 1 person

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