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Poetry: Natural History

 

Tiger

Supple as water, patient
as the moon:  a fact,
no more, of waiting.
Muscular potential:
tiger.
         Listen.
There is nothing to hear:
that is the voice of
the tiger.    In the night,
a breeze ruffles grasses,
alive as fingers, sharp
as blades:  tiger.

Watch.  Nothing moves:
that is the face of the
tiger.
          Supple as water,
muscles careless as a pool,
butterfly pads that wake
no warning birds.

Test the wind.  No scent
but moonlight:  that
is the breath of the
tiger.     The stars sing
a vast, indifferent symphony,
subtle as fingers, sharp as
a blade:          listen.

The pleasures of gods
are fatal as knives:  that is
the art of the tiger.



For Sappho, Tiger Spirit.
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