She sprawls on a paddock of spangle grass
enclosed by a wicker of wind-sculpted trees
that stencil against a grim, pearlescent
spelter of clouds sponging the light
from the chill curve of an enchanted moon.
a song and a dance and a drink - or a few!
There's many a legend that I could relate:
of wreckers and pirates; of lovers and fools
of Owlers and Excisemen keen to debate
the rights and the wrongs of a tax on our wool;
- but rather I'm minded to sing an old yarn
of Buda, the Tiger at Dawn.
a collision of people in lines and knots
snatching at gossip and snagging glances
as they parade the field. A puddle moats
the dolmen slab where the smuggler chants.
the pet of Lord Shiva Destroyer I swear.
Her paddock was jungle and mountain and plain;
her jaws were the jangle and rattle of hurt -
for when she went hunting none could restrain
the beast from her progress and none could divert
her claws from their throat: upon tides of slick gore
came Buda, great Tiger of War."
her throat is as dry as the thistle heads
anchored to their stalks by ice and time
and the loss of light; she lets her tongue
poke at her lip, peeling coldsores.
The story is nonsense to her numbed ears:
she remembers a room dismembered by the roots
and buds and saps and sighs and chants
of an impossible woman woven from bark;
she remembers dogs dragging at her flesh.
of courage and skill beyond measure to speed her
demise. For the Lord has deserted our side:
he rides on her back, a destroyer of life
and love and all hope and desire. We hide
and still she uncovers our havens - this strife
must stop! Will not one of us stand up and kill
old Buda, dire Tiger of ills?'"
He stands so tall, this summit of a man,
with clothes that talk of class and money
and learning hewn from the halls and greens
of a distant city with dreamy spires.