The dark side of lions
Story of a lioness
Stately, proud and majestic of bearing,
King of the jungle, the lion roars loud.
Whom fears he amongst the animal crowd?
Does he fear any?
No, but he instills fear in many.
The lion definitely has a dark side,
This jungle king, leader of the pride;
He’s black-hearted in at least one thing.
Here is the story of a lioness,
Whom a lion brings into great distress.
The lioness to her cubs gives birth;
This hunter of the earth
In her life as a mother
Finds true worth.
They start to grow,
And as with all young,
Life looks fresh and full of fun.
In the warming sunshine
They frolic and play;
Unawares approaches a different hour;
But doesn’t their mother care for them
With love unlimited and no small power?
The two cubs grow bolder day by day,
Desiring like all children to run and play.
She senses menace lurking near,
And carries the cubs to a rock on high.
She doesn’t want her loves to die;
Elevation lowers a little her fear.
The cubs think life is one long game;
Their mother is wiser, thinks not the same.
One day a sister arrives to help with the cubs;
She poses no threat to their little lives;
Devilish danger lurks and waits below.
The sister comes to the lioness
In humble submission,
And because she creates no peril
The lioness grants her admission;
From another source comes the evil.
The lioness tries to chase away
The lurking threat;
Boldly going down
And at risk to herself,
She confronts the waiting lion,
Hoping to get rid of him yet.
Courageously snarling and charging at him,
She tries to make him go away.
A willingness to sacrifice herself
Characterizes this lioness,
But the lion knows the game best.
He has no intention to go away:
He will carry out his wicked intent,
For that he’s come to stay.
From it he will not relent.
He waits for the moment to come right.
Retreating at her snarling advance,
He will not engage her in a fight;
She is the one taking the chance.
He could destroy her in a minute,
But he has his game plan
And a dead lioness would kill it.
One day the wildebeest
On the plain below appear;
A lion-size feast is drawing near.
The lioness hungers for the kill,
Which for the cubs bodes sadly ill.
Hunger she can no longer control;
Hiding the cubs in a rock crevice,
She and her sister start to stroll
Towards the waiting food below,
Realizing, yet unable to change
The course of the coming sorrow.
The cubs come out to play
With no sense of danger
Ominously drawing near;
Only their mother lives in fear.
The lionesses make their kill,
But in the middle of the meal
The mother’s heart
Gives a strangely pounding start.
Leaving her sister
On the slain animal to feed,
She perceives a greater need.
She ups and runs
Back to her waiting cubs.
Fearful for the worst,
She loves her offspring
And puts them first.
Bounding up the unhappy hill,
She hopes against hope
That they are alive still.
Up the rocky cliff she races,
A picture of coordinated grace.
She hardly notices the lion below
In her headlong flight.
Arriving at the rock crevice,
She sees he has visited,
Fulfilled his threat,
Which with all her being
She attempted to allay.
It soon becomes clear,
When she draws near,
That a lethal visit he did pay.
Over the slaying
She had no final control,
And now grief pierces her soul.
O sad day, which could not keep
A murderous lion away.
All through the night she cries,
Doleful lament pierces surrounding skies,
For her cubs which are no more.
She grieves her sad tale
To the comfortless rock,
And well into the following day;
Yet the rules of the pride say
The ruling lion’s will has sway.
A good father to his own,
To another lion’s cubs
No mercy shall be shown:
He cares only to have his way,
And the lioness’s maternal feelings
Form no part in the order of his day.
A terrible stepfather,
A lioness’s cubs he will kill;
His own selfish lust to fulfill.
After her display of grief
The lioness returns to the pride,
Trotting docilely after the lion
Who has been her cubs’ lives thief.
He is her new master;
Later on she will bear the litter
Of he who brought on her own
No small disaster.
Does she forgive him the whole thing?
And will she be content to dwell by his side,
He who is the ruler of the pride?
The wild contains a cruel manner,
But what can one tell?
Is the way of man much better?
Is all under man’s dominion well?
Filling his world with so much sorrow
He knows not if there’ll be a world tomorrow.
Do you not think sad the lioness’s tale?
She wanted only her cubs to bless,
But pitiless, the selfish male
Brought her into great distress,
When for self her cubs he assailed.
Subject taken from a National Geographic nature film.
David Ben Haim