A tiger’s tale for my son

July 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

She gave no quarter
Cut me down with desperate skill
Said I live clinging to all that I’m not
No inclination to live all that I am
Another Sunday another fight
Our young son looking on in confusion
Now old enough to say ‘I don’t want you to fight’
Only minutes earlier she was teaching him a story
About a tiger that wanted wisdom from a human
To read in school the following day in a competition
My choice of a tiger who jumps from a precipice
Was dismissed as too gory
But it was the story my grandmother sang me
I was a child and it imprinted on my heart
The story of Punyakoti, the straggler the tiger caught
She begged him and he let her go thinking himself naive
But she gave him her word, so she came back
Entrusting her only son to her sisters and brothers
The Tiger was aghast at her sacrifice, his soul twisted in agony
And so he bade her return, and jumped to end his ignominy
In grandmother’s song I learnt to value honour
But my life was tough and full of compromises
And so I cling to all that I’m not
Lest my son learn too fast
The adult he holds in esteem, has more shame and dishonour
And so I cling to all that I’m not
Hoping against hope before that
I’ll get one more chance to show him all that I am

#poetry #poems

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