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Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Tiger



I am sure that many of you must have read this poem somewhere, sometime. (Of course , you must have else why would you be still reading a post on a Poetry blog :D). You know why this poem has been so popular till this date. Again I am sure many of you might have searched the internet and would do while I finish this post.

Actually, before I read this analysis on this link, I carried this notion that the Poet is trying to point out the beauty of a Jungle beast and that too not just any Jungle beast but, a clever and smart Tiger, who is quiet and waiting for its prey in a thick and dense forest. He is very strong and so symmetrically created by the God that his beauty is charming yet fearful due to his immense strength and nearly immortal self. 

There seems no timeline associated with the poem because the tenses have been used in a very confusing manner. But, this thing seems deliberate too for it adds the tension to the entire scene. As if you have actually encountered a real Tiger, rather 'The Tiger'. And, you lose the sense of time. You have no idea what was past, what is present and what is future. Your entire life, your deeds and your plans, everything is slipping away from your hands like the sand. And, you are all sweaty for you can see how strong the Tiger is, how huge a living thing can be and how symmetrical and beautiful his body is in spite of being so huge. In order to save your life you think that should you put a fight? But, then you realize that his immense strength has given him a nearly immortal status and fighting is just going to hurt you altogether more.

And, you think of quietly slipping out of the view.

Thus, this poem almost recreates a death scene provided you have got a nice imagination and in your imagination you have a match box and few dry twigs and branches. :D

For the readers' convenience, I am reproducing the poem by William Blake here:
Tiger Tiger. burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye.
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat.
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp.
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And watered heaven with their tears:
Did he smile His work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger Tiger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

-William Blake

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