The Tyger…. for Takami

I did put up this bit of doggerel last year. I took it, with due apologies, to William Blake. My favourite animal is the tiger, but I love animals in general. I cannot claim to be any sort of expert on them, however.

In the last weeks and months, I have read blogs called “Howling For Justice”, about wolves in America. Indah Susanti wrote about World Ocean Day and Backpacker Lee wrote about the slaughter of elephants in Africa. 

I have also seen the marvellous photographs that Takami Ibara takes, and I have seen that her photographs really bring out the emotion in the tigers and other animals she shoots in the zoo. We often talk of human emotion. Yet, we forget the marvellous beauty of the animals, and their rich social lives. 

Recently, someone posed this question to me on WhatsApp. While I am sure that this is a question that has done the rounds, it is a remarkably poignant and expressive question. It goes like this:

“When the last animal and bird has been killed, when the last plant has burned and withered away, what then will  we humans eat? Will we, then, eat money?”

So, once again, with due apologies to William Blake, here is my bit of doggerel. Before I go, I have to say one thing. His poem expresses his sense of wonder at creation. This is a sense of wonder that many of us have lost.

My view expresses a sense of desolation, I think. And, a sense of loss. 

“The Tyger burns bright, 

in the forests of the night

He burns with a light

That shines so bright.
The luminosity is there

For all of us here

For how long, I do not know

For Human Greed, it grows and grows.
And when He (God) made his shape

Did He think about the Fearsome Ape?

The one who would eat the lamb,

And cut the foot, and cut the hand?
For he who bears the Anvil

He who holds the Arrow

Will shoot at every sparrow

And eat the Tyger, bone and marrow.
The Tyger burned bright

In the forests of the night

He wandered in the shadows

With a heart so free

Until his bones were crushed

For you, and for Me.
The Tyger burned bright

In The Forests of The Night

And now his eyes,

They have no light.

There is no fire, in the Blackness of Night”


  1. Hello Mr Rajiv,
    I enjoyed your ‘interpretation’ of Blake’s poem very much. I admit, it does make me feel sad – but this is the reality… 😦
    I am also very honoured you dedicated this post to me, and for your very (!) kind words on my photography. It means a lot, kind Sir! But returning to the theme of your post…I often wonder, if mankind will realise how much we’re ‘taking’ from this planet, but not giving anything in return…

      1. Rajiv-san…my negative (‘realistic’ ‘cynical’) self says…we (humans) don’t really know what we’re doing for most of the time… 😦

  2. When I think of these questions about money and greed, it makes me so upset. Then I stare at my shiny macbook and my iphone and and….how on earth did we become who we are? Sometimes I feel lost in a sea of superficiality. On a happy note, I followed the blogger who takes the lion photos. She’s really good and I also like how she brings a lot of emotion to the animal images.

    1. Oh, Blake has written some amazing poetry. I love The Tyger.. The other, is the first four lines of The Auguries Of Innocence: “To see the world in a grain of sand / Heaven in a wild flower / To hold infinity in the palm of your hand /And, eternity in an hour”

      Do you like Donne’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”?

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