Courtesy of a birthday card from one 'ex-tiger' to another
Pacing the Cage
Emerging free from our teens,
Fresh from fantasy dreams,
We were wild and reckless, ready to rage;
Adrenalin pumping inside,
Each full of fire and pride,
Like a tiger just pacing the cage.
A tiger ... just pacing the cage.
And yet wisdom and youth,
Or lies versus truth,
Have never blended, gone hand in hand;
Like a child, scared of the dark, late at night,
We need time and the light,
To mature, then perhaps understand.
And then ... perhaps ... understand.
I can recall well, as a boy,
The exhilaration, sheer joy,
Of going to the circus in town;
And the greatest thrill of them all,
’Twas the ringmaster’s raucous call,
And the antics of the funny old clown.
Oh those antics ... of the funny old clown!
And though surrounded, yet alone,
Over there in that crazy war zone,
’Twas like a combined circus and zoo;
With elephants, snakes, toads and rats,
Monkeys, scorpions and large wild cats,
Like real tigers, as well as us too.
Real tigers ... as well as us too.
Arriving naïve, still as youths,
Yet, in discovering real truths,
We all rapidly started to age;
Run by metaphorical clowns,
In a giant jungle, on a rubber tree stage.
’Twas a jungle ... with a rubber tree stage.
Civilian audience confused,
Watched this foreign play unenthused,
Actors performed to just short of the end;
Lines delivered, based on lies,
A token applause, a mere disguise,
Hard to separate foe from a friend.
Hard to separate ... foe from a friend.
Conductors controlling their party,
With the music of mortars and ‘arty’,
And air power under total control;
With batons pointing instruction,
Devastation and destruction,
Puppets danced to their tune on patrol.
Puppets danced to their tune ... on patrol.
Like prisoners locked up in gaol,
Wired-in with no pending bail,
Frustration turns anger to rage;
Pressure subdued so increasing,
Yet, maybe one day releasing,
Like from a tiger, still pacing the cage.
Like a tiger ... still pacing the cage.
It is said that only very young men are suitable to serve as puppets for those who wage war. That’s because they are healthy, fit and psychologically immature in their moral and social development, not as ready to ask the question: “Why?” It is only with age do we start to accumulate sufficient wisdom and confidence to stop and ask questions. Young men, now aging, having been used as pawns, finally ‘seeing the light’, become frustrated as the past is exposed and as accumulating anxieties are left to fester into a dangerous mix. No one enjoys being used!
“He who rides to and fro upon a tiger, dares not to dismount! - The tigers are getting hungry!”
- Winston Churchill, 1936.
Pacing the Cage