The Tyger

I’ve recently started reading poetry again. Sometimes I forget or overlook the simple beauty and inspiration found within its phrases. Once in a while you stumble across a poem that smacks you across the face, so to speak. And then you (or rather me) wonder how you ever did without it. It gives you a new perspective.

I’ve always loved Blake’s “The Tyger.” It’s lyrical and beautiful: “When the stars threw down their spears and watered heaven with their tears…” It’s so moving! 

It’s said that it has religious overtones, that it hints at the fall of Lucifer. Personally, I think it’s more a commentary on the nature of humanity. The tiger and the lamb is the good and the evil in all of us. We are made up of black and white; we are shades of gray. And God made all of us. We belong to Him. It’s something of a relief.

Take a look at the poem and tell me what you think.

The Tyger

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?

–William Blake

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