Two Beasts

There is a paradox
In the heart of the world

There are two beasts
That contend for dominion

One is ferocious and bloody
And knows no pity
Only vengeance

The other is magical
Of infinite color
And a look that heals

The terrible paradox is
That they both need each other

The one to live
The other to live again

One must feed
The other must give

One must bleed
The other must fight

One must scream
The other must yell “Stop!”

One is soft like a young mother’s smile
The other hard like an eagle’s claw

One will kill
The other seal

One will torture
The other feel

One will conquer
The other plead

One will seize
The other free

One will slaughter
The other bind

One must love
The other hate

These two beasts:
The lamb and the lion

Must find a way
To cohabitate
In the human heart
Becoming not too weak
And not too strong

These two so utterly different
Have brought forth History
And the special human art
Of both living terribly
And magnificently

I lay my hands upon
This Human Heart
And say a prayer
For the Irreconcilable Nature
Of these its two warring parts:

O Lamb may you be strong
When kindness is not enough

O Lion may you be meek
For you may be wrong
In the retribution that you seek

May you both find the justice
That is mete
And make men not beasts
But wise

May you both find the peace
To end your eternal strife

Let this dread heart finally beat
In freedom and in love

Dan Corjescu teaches at the University of Tübingen’s “Studium Professionale” Program

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