Crocodile's Tears

from by Peter Moore (Pen Dragon)

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Crocodile’s Tears

A zebra went down to the watering hole
In search of a drink one day
For she had galloped long and hard
On the plains where the wild things play.
Her hooves were tough, her mane was long
Her skin was soft, her muscles strong
Her eyes were as bright as the full moon’s light
At the height of her powers on solstice night.
Her heart was young and full of a fire
That burned with a flame of the purest desire
Her spirit was restless but she feared no pain
For she was the horse that could never be tamed.

But a croc lay in wait by the side of that pool
He was wily and wicked and cunning and cruel
And he watched as the zebra came down to drink
And as he watched and he waited he started to think;
How could he have what could never be tamed
With the go-faster stripes and the dreads in her mane
With the eyes that were bright as the full moon’s light
When the wind shakes the barley on harvest night?
And so he hatched out a plan to appeal to her pride
For he longed for a taste of her velvety hide
And to sink his teeth deep in her hot, silken throat
And to drink of her blood till his senses were soaked.

So he said to the zebra:
“Magnificent Beast!
Will the wonders of the wild world never cease?
Where are you from and what is your name?
Is it true you’re a horse that can never be tamed?
For in all of my roving never have I seen
A nightmare more closely resembling my dreams.
Are you black? are you white? Why you’re really a sight
With your eyes like the moon on a midsummer’s night
With your scent so alluring and your markings so rare -
Will you forgive a poor croc if he can’t help but stare?
And if I sing you a song would you grant me one favour -
A single, sweet kiss for these rude lips to savour?”

Said the zebra:
“Oh sir, I can never be tamed
For I love nothing more than the wind in my mane!
And I’d rather die alone than live life by the rules
Of those commonplace horses - that herd of fools!
I come from the plains where the wild things play
And my name is a secret I’ll not give away.
My nature is paradox - like the moon, dark and light -
If you ignore me I’ll kick you, if you chase I’ll take flight
But I won’t try to stop you if you really must stare
‘Cause I’m a bold horse, I’m a bad horse, I’m a haughty nightmare.
And as for your song, well if you sing I might listen -
But I’m making no pledges when it comes to the kissin’!”

Then the crocodile smiled to himself, but to her he said:
“Very well then, I’ll sing, but first – come closer!
For the song that I sing is a tender refrain
That is not for the ears of those fools on the plain;
Come closer, come closer, let me whisper sweet words
Of the love that drives men and beasts and birds.
Of the Crocodile King and his search for a Queen
And the sorrows that he suffered in pursuit of his dream -
Of the battles that he fought just to stand by her side
And the love that compelled him to risk all for his bride
That beautiful princess - like the moon, dark and light:
Come closer, come closer - have no fear of my bite…”

Now the zebra stood still and a silence descended
As deep and as dark as if time had ended.
But her heart full of fire beat loud in her ears
Both inflamed by desire yet frozen by fear.
For though she had sworn she would never be mastered
Still the crocodile’s song made her long for disaster:
A mad love, a bad love, a look-out-you’ve-been had love
A fierce love, a pure love, a rich, rare and raw love.
And so despite her misgivings of the horny old croc
She took a step closer and she let her head drop
And the crocodile whispered:

“That’s it, my pretty;
have a heart, lend an ear, hear my tale - and take pity!
For my song is a sad one, of all that can go wrong
When lovers love too much, and lose themselves
And in hunting for Heaven, they plunge straight down to Hell.
When their need for each other burns like a hunger
And the reins of their reason can restrain them no longer
And they surrender themselves to the pyres of their passion
To be consumed by the tongues of the saints and to pass on
Out of this sphere of mere mortal obsession
And into the arms of the Spirit’s possession…”

And as he sang on his voice dwindled almost to a hiss
Till the zebra leant so close, he said:
“Now, Lady, my kiss -
For more precious than pearls to a poet’s the fame
Of the favour of the horse that could never be tamed.”

The zebra stood silent, barely breathing at all;
She was spell-struck and held in his terrible thrall.
And those eyes that were bright as the full moon’s light
Were now dim as if sunk in some secret insight.
And she never moved a muscle as the croc glided closer
Till his lips touched her lips and his claws were upon her.
“Oh, Crocodile,” she whispered, “how I fear your embrace!
But your song has undone me - now hear my heart race!
For who would have thought that those lips so rude
Could sing words so sweetly of feelings so true?”
But the crocodile smiled - a wild, snaggle-toothed grin
And roared: “I am your downfall - come on, dive in!”

Then he stretched his jaws wide
And he snapped them tight
On the neck of the horse with the eyes as bright
As the blood on the blade on sacrifice night.
And he sank his teeth deep in her flesh so smooth
And he rolled, and he dragged her down, deep in his pool.

Her hooves were tough, her mane was long
her skin was soft, her muscles strong
But she struggled in vain - and she didn’t struggle long.
And as the darkness closed over, she remembered his words
About the love that drives men and beasts and birds
To the pinnacles of pleasure and the depths of despair
But the crocodile just wept as he slept,
All alone, in his lair.


from Rimes of Passion, released November 28, 2015



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