Poetry Sunday: The Tyger

My elder daughter, who is school secretary at an elementary school in the Houston area, told a story this week about a parent who had visited her office. The mother and her child were waiting in the office. On the wall there was a poster with a picture of a tiger and the caption on the poster read "The Tyger." The mother looked at the poster for a while and then turned to her child and said, "This can't be a very good school. They don't even know how to spell tiger!"

Well, tyger was the spelling used by William Blake in his famous poem and it's good enough for me. The poem was always a favorite of mine in my high school literature studies. I passed that love on to my daughter and it became a favorite of hers, too. Let's make it the poem of the week.

The Tyger
by William Blake
Tyger Tyger, 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 water'd heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright, 
In the forests of the night: 
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


  1. What a story! But typical in Houston .........

    This is my favorite poem, too.


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