The Tiger

I was an old man when I heard about him
My peoples’ lives had been saddled by
Two thousand years of hatred and confusion
To the Deer Park I traveled
To get a glimpse and to understand
What had been forgotten with time
I heard him speak of open hearts and minds
I felt my soul stir at his mere presence
So I decided to stay and learn what others have
I sat beneath the Bodhi tree as he once did
But I did not comprehend
I shaved my head and donned saffron robes
But I did not comprehend
I walked miles with begging bowl in hand
But I did not comprehend
I took the four noble truths to heart
But I did not comprehend
I followed the noble eightfold path
But I did not comprehend
As I grew older and weary I decided
To go back to my ancestral Rome
For clearly I lacked what was required
On the way I met a fellow traveler
A tiger she told me she was
She could show me what I could not grasp
I laughed and told her that I was too old
The path for awakening is left to those
That have their heart and their wits
She jumped and clawed me with her sharp paws
And I began to comprehend
She toyed with me as I tried to get away
And I continued to comprehend
She growled fear into my heart and soul
And I continued to comprehend
She grabbed me by the neck and took my breath
And I continued to comprehend
She devoured me in one swift move
And I finally understood
There is nothing and everything left
I am her and there is no me left
The old man is now part of the tiger
We roam the forest looking for souls
We tell them the truth and show them
That there is no me left and there never was

.

Note: I wrote this piece a few years ago. It’s my favorite piece, but one that no one else has liked. I’ve submitted it for publication several times and has always been turned down.

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