Thomas Orszag-Land's 'Lion Tamer'

The Lion Tamer

Beyond the bars, the circus crowd sits pale
to watch the beasts perform the tricks they loathe –
They hope that I, their tamer, may just fail.
But with my whip I will control them both.

I have outfaced the adulating crowd
and I have learned to ride the lions' rage –
My early quest for freedom had its shroud
in fame found here within the circus cage.

For freedom, I pursued the painted lights
(while others dreamed of flight in tame unrest)
in tearful longing past a thousand sights –
Within my trade, today I am the best
 
and watch the crowd behind its fearful mask
and watch the painted lights that will seduce –
The lions' foolish master, thus I ask
if there's still time to put my life to use.

*Thomas Orszag-Land is a poet and award-winning foreign correspondent writing on Eastern Europe and the Middle East. His poetry has been published by The Spectator and The New York Times, his reviews and polemics by The Times Literary Supplement and Poetry Review. His most recent major work is Deathmarch: Holocaust Poems translated from the Hungarian of Miklós Radnóti (Snakeskin, England, 2009).

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