The savage kingdom

The tiger stalks across the plain
A bird sings a haunting refrain
Is the war over?
You say you will no longer fight.

Two dead bodies lie on the ground soaked in battle's blood
The tiger licks their wounds
Feeds on blood let into light of day
The bird sings its notes for joy
A blue crested kingfisher high in its tree beside the stream.

Is anything remaining after the bloodiest confrontation?
What of these human bodies lying in the baking sun?
Is this the paradise?
Existing only when battle's done?
When there's none to win and nothing won?

Did it have to come to war?
Foolish humans
Pitting their hate against the might of nature.
Who are these bodies lying on the ground
Clutching each other in death's throes?
And if there had been no war
Would the tiger be prowling, the bird singing?

As each delivered the mortal blow
They saw in dying the light of the sun
The illuminating glow showing them their woe,
In the doubt of agony they recognised each other's wounds.

The tiger lopes to the tree by the stream
His jowels are warm with the taste of blood
The bird sings higher notes of praise
There is nothing now to disturb the light of day
Flooding the plains between the mountains.

What will become of the dead bodies?
The tiger will gnaw, the bird will peck, the carcases.
Will this tainted flesh issue in holy war
Between the tiger and the kingfisher?
No, they each have their role within the kingdom, they know.
There is only one earth
One tiger
One bird
As it always was and is.
What to quarrel with?
Life runs its course.
The bird rides on the tiger's back
The sun shines
The stream flows
From the beginning of time
It has always been so.
The savage kingdom of delights annoints its victims.

[David Stuart The Conjunction of the Sun and Moon]

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