Left by the tiger

In my childhood I was a fervent worshipper of the tiger — tipsy from its raging scent, knifesharp, jungle-supple; I was shadowed by its fearful symmetry, teeth and paws; But never lost, I strolled without a map in its feral awe.

In my adolescence I grew claws, I wrung my skin to hide the stripes the tiger left; I hid behind equations — chalk. It was never out of fear I walked alone, it was never me, it was the tiger, growing, growling — me in feline fright.

One day the tiger left me, left a void I filled with duties, laws. I see the tiger’s tail in the preacher’s eye, in the politician and professor, in a burglar’s hand, the tiger left me prudent, proud, but I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.

Tiger by Franz Marc

Today Amaya inspires with a prompt at dVerse were we shall take a quote from a book to start and another to end. I start with a quote by Borges which comes from Borges’ Dreamtigers, and I end with the first line of Ginsberg’s Howl

24 responses to “Left by the tiger

  1. I love the tigerish teeth and snarls in ‘tipsy from its raging scent, knifesharp, jungle-supple’ and the reference to Blake’s ‘fearful symmetry’. I also love the image of a tiger hiding behind equations! No wonder I had trouble understanding maths!
    It’s sad that we have to be tamed by duties and laws – I just hope the poachers don’t spot the tigers’ tails.

  2. I read this as a story of possession and then self-rescue. We all worship the tiger, these days, I think – bullying and anger and arrogance. It’s much braver to be gentle.

  3. Look out Kafka, especially with the ferocity of this phrase: “I wrung my skin to hide the stripes the tiger left;” and even though you say the tiger left, I see him still there behind those chalky equations, calculating for the kill. What an intense read crossing this bridge was. I almost feel hunted.

  4. Interesting idea for a prompt – and I really like the words you’ve chosen and the way you’ve fashioned something uniquely yours in between, which works so well in this little “story-telling” poem/piece –

    and yeah, these are such great lines – evocative and powerful:
    In my adolescence I grew claws, I wrung my skin to hide the stripes the tiger left;

    wonderful writing here Bjorn!

  5. “In my adolescence I grew claws, I wrung my skin to hide the stripes the tiger left; I hid behind equations — chalk.” I love this. Wonderful, Björn!

  6. Damn, what awesome opening lines you chose! Your words sandwiched between are intense and so felt.Like the Blake reference as well.

  7. You wove strong images between your chosen quotations.
    When I got to the ending, I was wondering whether the loss of the tiger did you a favor or not? I guess, it is a question we all ask ourselves when we make choices or life happens.

  8. Fascinating piece! I think we all need rescue from a tiger too powerful for us to tame…yet we’re attracted to the wild side.

  9. I found the progression of your words fascinating here. Following the tiger; taking on its claws and becoming; and then shedding the tiger. A child….through formative years…..through rebellious years…..into a staid adulthood in a life filled with duties and laws…..but the proud stature remains. And the final line….makes me think (my perception) that the voice of the poem remained true to the proud self, even within the duties and laws whereas others succombed to the “madness” — the drain, the temptations etc. I found this a fascinating write, Bjorn!

  10. I suppose we all had some level of Tiger in us at some point. Wonton and free. Then came adulthood with a strong dose of reality/ personal growth. A nice write.

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