Our neighbor’s big tiger cat came to visit the other day and left a present in our backyard – a dead baby rabbit. Thank you, Pumpkin. Our own cats are not above chasing live toys around, but the first big hunter in my life was a cat my mother named Tiger because she could not say Genghis Khan. As a teen I’d be awakened by screaming and run out in the middle of the night, bathrobe on, flashlight in hand, to chase down our ferocious baby rabbit killer. I’ve got lots of pet memories. You’ve probably got them, too. Don’t forget your pets when you write your life stories down. (I will spare you the photograph for this poem.)
Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In the meadows of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could imagine how hard I’d try
To rescue all the little creatures
Before you’d tear apart their features.
Oh, what teeth and what art
Could pain the sinews of my heart.
When the rabbit heart would beat
What fear would still his little feet
Until your teeth would grab his neck
And he would scream and squirm like heck.
Did Tiger smile his work to see,
Did He who made the lamb make thee?!
(There’s a name for this type of poem, which uses something previously written as its base, in this case William Blake’s The Tyger.)