Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Tyger

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

William Blake the English poet and painter penned this highly analysed poem in the late 1700’s. He misspelled the word and noted as TYGER, it is told, perhaps to emphasise the different and exotic nature of the animal.

I remember this poem from standard IV, when we had a shortened few lines in our English Reader. It was sometime later in high school the complete poem was given in the curriculum. The poem haunts me even now for the vibrancy and strength of words, perhaps a parallel I noticed in the poem Balachandran posted.
I take the liberty of posting Blake’s poem ‘Tiger’ per se, as I cannot coin verses like he or Balachandarn, verses that carry the power and the feel . Anything otherwise would be an injustice to this wonderful creature and the fate that is fast overtaking it.

And it was during the same time when in high school, during my regular visits to the British Council Library in Thiruvananthapuram, I happened to read a book on a hunting expedition of King George V. There was photograph in black and white with the King and his Maharajah splendiferous in front of the carcass of some fifty odd tigers they hunted in one single day.
That slaughter was for perverted fun and the present slaughter is in aid of perverted carnal orgy.

And the magnificent creature is at the nadir end in both cases. 

" What hands made thee" ,the same god that made the lamb made the tiger. And  he the very same blacksmith made man... what a cosmic catastrophe!!!!

 "the stars throw down their spears ,

And water the heaven with their tears”


Balachandran V said...

Compared to Blake, I don't EXIST!

But the intensity of the feeling that the hapless animal and the cruelty of humans evokes in me is much more than the sense of wonder that Blake has.

Tiger and such other large mammals are symbols of the beautiful diversity of life. But, the way things are going, finally there will be one species left, homo sapiens brutus; and quite likely one from the warring religions. But then, man would surely realize that he cannot survive by himself; late, though it be.

Insignia said...

Shows the ignorance of our species and the bleak future we all have isnt it? Such a majestic creature as these and lot others are being butchered by man. Foolish our species are; when we realize our blunder it will be too late.

People keep talking about Saving earth. Are we so omnipotent to save the mighty earth? They portray themselves as saviors of earth when actually they are trying to save themselves

anilkurup said...

@ Balan,
No flattery.
The poem of Blake is a kind of awe, at the beauty of creation , while you conveyed the utter disgust and sadness of the fate of that beautiful animal.
And there are many who feel and believe that this planet is meant for homo sapiens and the other living things can be done with.

anilkurup said...

@ insignia,
The earth can save itself, Nature has its own ways of handling crisis., One mighty Tsunami, one catastrophic earth quake, one mighty volcanic eruption and a barrage of deluge, forest fires- where do man stand in front of these powerful forces?
And the day after, nature will begin all over again, perhaps carefully keeping away the new dawn of man.

BK Chowla, said...

Running a campaign is different than actually taking care.

deeps said...

Not just this wild cat, but blue whale, panda, polar bear, even lions and cheetah are a few to name who will in the long run be found only the museum or on stamps. The fate of these wild beings are written by us. Poaching, climatic changes caused by human intervention, deforestation make things worse pushing more and more species of animals to the verge of extinction…

And look at that idiotic, grotesque king who had fun killing animals…damn

kaalpanique said...

if everyone saw the tiger thru Blake's eyes... none would think of killing the magnificent beast...

anilkurup said...

@ bk Chowla

Yes Sir you are right.
Then to actually take care an empathy must be developed. And how will that happen?

anilkurup said...

@ deeps

You must have seen in the news paper a couple of days ago , about the tree felling on Shasthamangalam road in Tpuram.
The people who live there were vociferous and up against the minuscule few like Sugatha Kumari and Shankar who protested the wanton felling. And they had to retreat.
The tiger like any other creature and living things that co exist are trivial matters for the vast majority.

anilkurup said...

@ Kaalpanique

This just not the tiger alone!
is it?

jayarajmurukkumpuzha said...


anilkurup said...

@ jayarajmurukkumpuzha,


Ashok Menath said...

Anil, the following is off topic. Sorry.

Blake has been a never ending fascination for me. An “English” P. Kunhiraman Nair (forgive me for the inverted sense of history), so to say, except that P never had the felicity of painting / drawing.

‘The Tyger’ is a ‘song of experience’ for the poet. (Songs of Innocence and Experience). So when Balan writes:

“But the intensity of the feeling that the hapless animal and the cruelty of humans evokes in me is much more than the sense of wonder that Blake has I have a doubt. May be... strong feelings may come out as beautifully written verses. But then ‘poetry’ is different.. A dangerous question as life could ever be..

Coming back to Blake..How about these? :

“He who has suffered you to impose on him knows you.”
“The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction”

“Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion”

dr.antony said...

We are slowly killing our world through experimentation and ill thought plans. We have lost so much and and can very easily lose so much more quickly. Not only are the tigers precious beautiful animals, but a link in the chain that we cannot afford to lose.Many species of tigers are already extinct.Only 250 of Amur tigers remain,and are being at the rate of about 25 per year,and to add to this,they have been affected by a curious illness as well.
Killing the poachers is a good solution.Isnt it?.Why not?