Tiger

When the tiger puts his paw into

The rising

Pool of mist by the riverbank,

Then will

The cry

Of all

The worlds be stilled,

While clouds

Of moons dance solemnly

In pale shrouds.

What wild lands have they killed

Now, those hapless hurlers of spears,

Makers

Of cities, and sellers

Of strange, stolen fears,

They who haven’t an eye

That can see?

Yet they too

Live at the behest

Of the mud-churning

Floods that fall

Fast on the dry

Plain.

Who

Is this mythic tiger

Who so gladly drank

Up time and eternity,

Splashing

Still

In the wide water?

Is it time to be done

Now, to follow

Him into the sky-blue

Tall-hilled

Land, to be gone,

Like the vanishing one,

Into the cavernous west

Where the great stones that hallow

The ground,

Shine gray in the singing

Rain,

Where the black paws of the night run

On the rock, with no sound,

Where the winds ever go

Like white-toed moths, wafting

Among the gold cactus of the dawn?

Painting and poem by Sharon St Joan. To see a larger view of the painting, click here.