"What is your favourite poem?" asks Norm Geras of normblog in one of 50 questions put to bloggers invited to participate in the distinguished Marx scholar's long-running Friday blog profiles series. We were thrilled to be asked to join in the fun and relieved that Norm wanted answers to only 30 of the questions -- you get to pick and choose. "Who are your sporting heroes?" for example, would have left us speechless, but "What is your favourite poem?" was grist for our blogmill, an opportunity to use a much-loved and much-interpreted poem to sound one of our favorite themes:
I love William Blake's "The Tyger." Dazzling imagery red in tooth and claw makes mincemeat of the peaceable kingdom paradigm.
Here it is in full, illustrated by our own in-house tygers, Baby (above) and Tiny, both with fire burning bright in their eyes as they defended their turf from the intruder yesterday:
(from Songs Of Experience)
By William Blake, 1794
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 sieze 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?
Blake no doubt had in mind an Intelligent Designer, but with or without the God of Abraham, his poetry resonates. Our normblog profile will be published October 21.
Update: More members of the tooth and claw community now boarding Modulator's Friday Ark.