The Tyger, by William Blake

LD: William Blake’s The Tyger ( 1794)  is the most popular poem in the English language, anthologized more often than any other poem. Here are two different versions. I doubt if The Tyger  has ever been read so well—the first by a man, the second by a woman, both consummate artists of recitation with the most beautifully modulated voices.

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8 thoughts on “The Tyger, by William Blake

  1. Why Laugh My Heart?
    a poem I wrote 5 yrs ago

    I reflectively waded through memories past,
    And remembered a friend
    Who once appeared in the horizon
    Of my wearied life,
    Shortly to disappear like a passing dream.

    She built a lustrous temple in my heart,
    Illumined it with candles of loyalty, love, charm,
    And artistic beauty.

    She saturated it with the perfume of her goodness:
    A perfume that permeated every nook of my heart.

    Such is my sad lot in life!
    Whenever joy visits me,
    It is inevitably rebuffed by sorrow.

    My heart aches even in the peak of gladness,
    Fully knowing it is short-lived, soon to vanish.

    What is joy but sorrow temporarily lulled?
    Surely, this sorrow will eventually cease,
    But only when I am no more!

    How can you laugh, my heart,
    When someday you and I will disintegrate in the grave?

    Not too long ago we were in the prime of youth,
    Joyously singing, while flitting from one branch to another:
    Exuding dreams, love, and bliss.

    Now, nothing left to reap save disquietude.
    Unwillingly, my heart, you departed the homeland(Palestine),
    And still removing the painful thorns of misery.

    O, what a life!
    I am too embarrassed to recount.
    A brief description should suffice.
    I am hopeless, tired of this life,
    Pessimistic about this world.

    I have never been wrong about its nature,
    Nor its delusive nature will ever change

    1. Al –

      “What is joy but sorrow temporarily lulled?”

      Great line!
      (What are clouds but an excuse for the sky??)

  2. speaking of animals, i came across a scene this morning, 01/01 the first day in 2017 that seemed so choreographed that it is hard not to read into as some sort of token.

    riding my scooter along a country road in N Thailand, there, in the middle of the pavement was a snake that had just caught a frog whose front paws were still scrabbling on the road trying to get away but to no avail.
    I stopped the bike right behind them and leaned over to watch, unsure what to do since I like snakes too, it was just doing what the nature had designed it for.
    But when it spotted me, it scuttled off in a hurry into the bush, spitting out the frog.
    i put my hand down and the frog jammed itself desperately into it … that’s a first, every time i had caught a frog in my life it was very evasive except for this one, after a while it took off into the nearby marsh.

    And i do know that the Serpent is a basic Jew symbol, from the tale of Expulsion from Eden to the Protocols.
    I choose to interpret it as a good start to 2017.

  3. Seven, seven nine eleven Poor murdered souls cry out from Heaven Blair quite plainly and Cheney insanely think themselves immune The time will come And for Rumsfeld the dumb When they’ll burn with Bush – and soon…

  4. Move,
    Down the road I go.

    There’s mud in the water,
    Roach in the cellar,
    Bugs in the sugar,
    Mortgage on the home,
    Mortgage on the home.

    There’s garbage on the sidewalk,
    Highways in the back yard,
    Police on the corner,
    Mortgage on the car,
    Mortgage on the car.

    Move,
    Down the road I go.

    They’re selling independence,
    Actors in the White House,
    Acid in digestion,
    Mortgage on my life,
    Mortgage on my life.

    Move,
    Down the road I go.

    Ramble tamble tamble
    Ramble tamble tamble
    Ramble tamble tamble

    John Fogerty, 1970

  5. Tyger, Tyger
    what a life
    need you now and here for strife
    claws and teeth so keen
    drink the blood false king and queen
    settle now the boundary lines
    bring us touch and revelry.

  6. This is one of my all time favorite poems. But it never dawned on me until just now that Blake may be arguing for “Intelligent Design” in his great poem. I’ve never read it, ever, that way, until today.

    Is Blake arguing that the tyger’s magnificence, his beautiful yet fearful symmetry could only have been created by a Higher Being… i.e., by God, or at any rate, by a Higher Design Intelligence, I wonder?

    All great poems ask the big spiritual questions… that’s probably why no Jew has ever written any poetry of note, never mind great poetry.

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