A Lion Lives with Me

A Lion Lives with Me

Patrick Howse, a former BBC bureau chief who completed a seven-year tour of duty in and around Baghdad, has written extensively about his experience in Iraq between 2004 and 2009. He was diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder in 2010, and he has used poetry as a means to understand and share his experience. Howse has said that, “as my therapy progressed I came to realise that PTSD would stay with me forever; I might be able to make it behave itself, but I would never be rid of it entirely.”

A Lion Lives with Me – Patrick Howse

Normally he sleeps,
Under my desk,
Or in the wardrobe,
Or under the kitchen table.
There are times when
I hear him snoring, purring,
Or flicking his tail,
Just to remind me he’s there.
When he’s awake,
He’s very easily distracted
With music or films
Or a really good book.
There are times when
He behaves like a Tom Cat,
Pissing on the beds
And howling all night;
He keeps me awake then,
Making me notice him,
Making me show him
The respect due to a lion.
And sometimes he becomes
A slavering Man-eater,
Who has to be faced-down
With a chair and whip.
He’s quite a smelly
Old lion, and I often wish
That I could get rid of him;
But he’s mine for life.

For more of Howse’s poetry, please visit his website.