Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Tyger

First of all, with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, "No sound on computers means how poor is Queen of Kentfield..."

I was finally able to hear the episode of Spark! which features Lawrence Ferlinghetti, talking about his paintings. One of the pictures had a portion of the famous poem by William Blake superimposed over it:

Tyger! Tyger! 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 in thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

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

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

Ever since I finally HEARD Mr. Ferlinghetti read those four lines, I have had the damn thing stuck in my head. It is worse than "It's a Small World, After All." I hear those lines and see tygers (sic) everywhere I go. The other night at 142 Throckmorton, for instance, some of the ballroom lights cast shadows on the wall that looked like tiger eyes and that poem routed itself through my mind, yet again. And okay, sometimes the shadows looked like the logo from CATS (close, really, but no cigar as they say). And now I dream of tygers.

Yes, last night I dreamt (does anyone still use that archaic version of the past tense, well, we are talking poetry here) of a tyger. A large, bengal tyger cruising through my house, scaring my doggie and me until I gathered up my courage and recited the first four lines of the poem. The poor animal ran screaming out the back door and was last seen lounging in the sun, next to the pool. What does this all mean?

1 comment:

Dar said...

"God has made the cat to give man the pleasure of caressing the tiger." Victor Hugo