The Barbarian Brought Down by a Lioness

This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series The Temptations of Solitude


in response to the painting by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, from his series The Temptations of Solitude

Did he taste of loneliness, sour & marmoreal,
that man from away who came out here
to get away from himself?

What vapors rose from the punctured
balloon of his gut, which he used to tap
with the small end of a fist when explaining

the pull of mountain scenery,
the open spaces & abundant peace?
He would settle here

as lightly as a leaf, he swore, praying
for the developers to be enveloped
& the subdividers subjected to division.

They didn’t feel the wilderness
the way he did, living off the land,
conscious only of God’s grace

as he looked back: the poor earth raw
from harrow & bulldozer, a snaggletoothed jumble
of lighthouse, smokestack, steeple.

Nothing like the orderly ridges
rippling under his attacker’s pelt,
that figment of the blue distance suddenly at hand.

Series Navigation← The Penitent Roasted by the SunThe Celibate Couple Pursued →

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