Heather Gibbons

Painter and Lecturer

My chosen animal

The Tiger – Eyes of Fire!

Words which describe all that I feel about this most wonderful animal.
Majestic Regal Powerful Proud Captivating Hypnotic
A “presence” held in great respect. A Radiance of Beauty.
Patterned Symmetry. The words of William Blake so relevant:

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 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?

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

This poem has long been a favourite of mine. It says so much about the mysterious nature of this elusive animal, full of fascination and intrigue as he secretly moves through the jungle and mountains…a homeland/habitat which is under threat from mankind which itself needs to be preserved!
The tiger is also elusive, aloof – mostly a solitary creature who keeps himself to himself for the most part – another aspect of his nature which appeals.

In a completely different context the tiger is also of course personified as Tigger courtesy of A.A.Milne in his writings about the adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Many of us of a certain genre probably first became fond of the tiger through our early reading years!

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