A Roaring Truth: Embracing the Lion Within Us - Analysis of An Allan Ginsberg Poem

I was reading Allan Ginsberg poem, The Lion For Real today. And just wrote this as a stream of consciousness.  The poem is below!

A Roaring Truth: Embracing the Lion Within Us

I carry within me a lion, a fearsome and relentless beast. This lion, it seems, is my silent companion throughout my journey in life. It is the embodiment of my mortality, the inevitability of my own demise. We all have this lion, lurking in the shadows of our existence, patiently awaiting its moment to pounce. When that moment arrives, it will consume us, leaving nothing but memories and echoes of our existence.

But this lion is not one we can predict or control. It moves at its own pace, adhering to its enigmatic timetable. There's a certain futility in trying to warn others about it. People tend to dismiss such notions, thinking us mad or obsessed with the morbid. They'll shake their heads and say, "You're crazy," as if denial were the shield that could protect them from the truth.

Even those we hold dearest, the ones we believe will understand our fears, often turn a blind eye to this impending doom. They, too, have their own lions to contend with, lurking in the recesses of their minds. It's as though we all exist in a collective state of denial, preferring not to acknowledge the savage reality that accompanies our fragile existence.

The secret, it seems, lies not in trying to convince others of the lion's presence but in our ability to accept it ourselves. Embrace the knowledge that this lion is an integral part of our lives, an ever-present reminder of our impermanence. Instead of dwelling on its impending arrival, we must focus on living the best lives we can.

We must continue to sing the songs that are uniquely ours, to carve our own paths through the wilderness of existence. To love deeply, to dream wildly, to create passionately, and to savor every moment as if it were our last. For in doing so, we defy the lion's intentions. We wrestle control from its grasp, choosing to live our lives on our terms, regardless of the looming shadow it casts.

So, I carry my lion with me, acknowledging its existence but refusing to let it dictate the course of my life. I sing my song, loud and clear, for as long as I can, for it is in the face of the inevitable that our true strength and resilience are revealed. This lion may be for real, but so is the indomitable spirit within us that continues to soar, undeterred by the specter of mortality.

The Lion For Real

- Allen Ginsberg

I came home and found a lion in my living room
Rushed out on the fire escape screaming Lion! Lion!
Two stenographers pulled their brunnette hair and banged the window shut
I hurried home to Patterson and stayed two days

Called up old Reichian analyst
who'd kicked me out of therapy for smoking marijuana
'It's happened' I panted 'There's a Lion in my living room'
'I'm afraid any discussion would have no value' he hung up

I went to my old boyfriend we got drunk with his girlfriend
I kissed him and announced I had a lion with a mad gleam in my eye
We wound up fighting on the floor I bit his eyebrow he kicked me out
I ended up masturbating in his jeep parked in the street moaning 'Lion.'

Found Joey my novelist friend and roared at him 'Lion!'
He looked at me interested and read me his spontaneous ignu high poetries
I listened for lions all I heard was Elephant Tiglon Hippogriff Unicorn
But figured he really understood me when we made it in Ignaz Wisdom's

But next day he sent me a leaf from his Smoky Mountain retreat
'I love you little Bo-Bo with your delicate golden lions
But there being no Self and No Bars therefore the Zoo of your dear Father
hath no lion
You said your mother was mad don't expect me to produce the Monster for
your Bridegroom.'

Confused dazed and exalted bethought me of real lion starved in his stink
in Harlem
Opened the door the room was filled with the bomb blast of his anger
He roaring hungrily at the plaster walls but nobody could hear outside
thru the window
My eye caught the edge of the red neighbor apartment building standing in
deafening stillness
We gazed at each other his implacable yellow eye in the red halo of fur
Waxed rhuemy on my own but he stopped roaring and bared a fang
I turned my back and cooked broccoli for supper on an iron gas stove
boilt water and took a hot bath in the old tup under the sink board.

He didn't eat me, tho I regretted him starving in my presence.
Next week he wasted away a sick rug full of bones wheaten hair falling out
enraged and reddening eye as he lay aching huge hairy head on his paws
by the egg-crate bookcase filled up with thin volumes of Plato, & Buddha.

Sat by his side every night averting my eyes from his hungry motheaten
stopped eating myself he got weaker and roared at night while I had
Eaten by lion in bookstore on Cosmic Campus, a lion myself starved by
Professor Kandisky, dying in a lion's flophouse circus,
I woke up mornings the lion still added dying on the floor--'Terrible
Presence!'I cried'Eat me or die!'

It got up that afternoon--walked to the door with its paw on the south wall to
steady its trembling body
Let out a soul-rending creak from the bottomless roof of his mouth
thundering from my floor to heaven heavier than a volcano at night in
Pushed the door open and said in a gravelly voice "Not this time Baby--
but I will be back again."

Lion that eats my mind now for a decade knowing only your hunger
Not the bliss of your satisfaction O roar of the universe how am I chosen
In this life I have heard your promise I am ready to die I have served
Your starved and ancient Presence O Lord I wait in my room at your

Paris, March 1958


  1. Great Ginsbergian gallumphings!
    -this must be the same Lion as in Russell Hoban's 'The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz'.
    But where is the wheel?