Douglas Penick

Manene's Song To Gesar, King Of Ling - Poem by Douglas Penick

In midwinter, late on a glittering frozen starlit night, when the new crescent moon has just returned to the sky, and Gesar sleeps dreamlessly in his palace bedroom, the goddess Manene comes to him. She descends across a bridge of faint moonlight, arching down from the lower point of the crescent moon directly into his heart. There she takes her place and sings to him:


Royal brother, Gesar, Great Warrior King of Ling,
Above you, the King of the Lha domain, youthful and vibrant
In crystal armor, rides on his snow-white horse,
While his lustrous pennants and those of his host of Drala warriors

Snap in the wind making the sound of cracking glacier ice,
He rides above you through the sky as your guide.
The Naga King of the Lu domain, powerful and wise In turquoise armor, with his sea blue
Sits beneath you in the deep caverns of his jewel palace.
His warriors and subtle emissaries
Moving ceaselessly and silent beneath sea and earth,
Confirm you with wisdom and wealth.

You, Gesar, in your golden armor
And starry chain-mail, with lightning sword, arrows of wind,
And your splendid horse of miracles, Kyang Go Karkar,
You sit in the place of the Lord of the Nyen domain,
Surrounded by your queen, your ministers,
Your generals and your hosts of brave warriors.
You radiate the protection of confidence throughout this land.

Your mind is ever vast and clear as the sky,
Your wisdom is ever bright and unwavering like the sun,
And your compassion ever clear and all-pervading as the moon.


But, even the bravest warrior with the sharpest eye
Who finds himself in a dense forest on a moonless night
Is unable to see and may soon be lost.
Branches and thorns strike and cut him as he moves.

He may be attacked by serpents, wolves or worse:
He may find his mind prey to forgotten childhood fears.
He may be assailed by phantom terrors of all kinds.
He may feel he is going mad and he may lose his mind.
He may fall from a cliff he cannot see and lose his life.

This world, so rich in the bright promises of happiness,
Is in truth, O Lion King, just such a forest.
Here the sky is often filled with clouds.
By night it becomes black, and even the sun and moon
Are always moving and often disappear.

Love becomes brutal selfishness, wisdom becomes calculation,
Prosperity becomes rabid greed, and justice, a means of
No attainment is ever permanent here.
Even this kingdom, Sire, whose dignity and wealth you have
Will fall and rise again a hundred times.
Even your own eternal wisdom, confidence and power
Will here be seen to wax and wane.
There will never be a time when genuine dignity is stable.
There is no place in which great exertion is not required.


Even now, within Ling itself,
Todong, among others, Is filled with lustful thoughts and envious greed. For him, this
kingdom is merely a sensual playground
Which fills him with longing and

His selfish grasping makes him an easy pawn of the demon lords, S
o he smiles in his sleep only when he dreams of your death.
On the borders of Ling, in each of the four directions,
The four great demon lords send their emanations to undermine

From Lutzen, the twelve-headed demon of the North,
Come black winds of anxious doubt and jealous arrogance,
So that men’s acts become based on efficiency and power.
When you destroy him, O Gesar,
You will suffer the loss of your mind,
But the orange banner of the Lion will fly victorious.

From the East, domain of the great demon tribe of Hor,
Come sly glittering blue waves of possessive deceptions,
Which lead men to act out of their impoverished ego fixation.
Before they are conquered, dear brother,
You will suffer the loss of your kingdom,
But the white banner of the Tiger will fly victorious.

From the West, the demon kingdom of Satham of Jang,
Come dazzling red clouds of hope and fear,
Enticing men to act out the entertaining dramas of self-involved
passion. In conquering them, kind friend, you will suffer the loss of your
body, And your great strength will not be of use, But the red banner of the Garuda will fly victorious.

From the South, the realm of the demon Shingti,
Come sticky yellow dust clouds of uncertainty and theorizing,
Leading men to act with magnetic sophistry to overcome their

Before you can conquer them, stainless hero,
You must break your sacred oath,
But the blue banner of the Dragon will fly victorious.


These demons and hordes of others like them
Are the ancient weaknesses of race and realm,
And, for all their innumerable forms,
They are the many-twisted branches of a single root.
They are the perverted face of liberation.

They are the belief that freedom can be possessed
As an experience, as power, intelligence, lust or wealth.
They are the rapacious struggle of the deluded mind
To expand the domain of its own projections.
Thus they undermine the true merit of men and nations,
Which is confidence in the power of egoless action.

The blazing sun of unbiased wakefulness
Becomes the shifting half-light of craving.
These demons enter through the gate of selfishness:
Careless followers become their unwitting slaves.
With a relentless appetite for confirmation and permanence,
They grip the minds and suck the marrow
Of those who madly seek fulfillment in their service. T
hey consume and waste the earth and all who dwell here.
Doubts, depression, pride and oracles are their feeding ground.
A poisonous, arid, hysterical claustrophobia is their residue.

To defeat them, you have entered their terrible realms
And must, Great Warrior King, endure their madness.

Demons cannot be attacked directly or conquered from afar.
As you entered their terrain when you accepted human birth,
They will enter you; they will erupt and slide into your thoughts
With their array of fears, arguments, enticements and promises.
Do not accept their conditions and do not ally yourself with
Remember your true allegiance, the unconditional confidence
Of the vast, clear midday sky.


To defeat the demonic lords,
You must stir up their innate paranoia
To separate them from the phenomena that support them.
You must stir up their innate lust
To separate them from those that love, counsel and follow them.
False hopes and fears must paralyze their acquisitive minds.
In this way, they lose their hold on the past, present and future.
Uprooted from time itself, they are destroyed.
In the very act of destruction, the armor of life is fulfilled.

Your life here, Great Fearless Friend of Man,
Is without comfort or ease.
It is ceaseless warfare.

Again and again, you must rouse yourself and raise yourself up.
Again and again, you must rely only on your discipline.
Again and again, you must confirm your dignity.

You must raise the Tiger, Lion, Garuda, Dragon victory banner.
Conquest over demonic degradation must be re-enacted again
and again.

You must uphold the sign of unfailing inspiration,
The all-victorious flag of the Great Eastern Sun.

This is the only path in this roiling sea of confusion
Called the human realm.

This is the only example, the only attainment,
The only joy and the only true glory.
This is the true warriorship that does not rely on results.
This is the continuous truth of your eternal kingdom.

Because, Lion King of Ling, you act in this way,
You are an unfailing, all-consuming torch,
Always alight in the hearts of men and women.

Even amid the black torments of fear, doubt, madness and despair,
The very mention of your name will restore human dignity forever.

Poet's Notes about The Poem


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, June 22, 2013

Poem Edited: Friday, July 26, 2013

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