The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Margot Farrington

Scanning for Tigers


The problem, said the optometrist,

lies with print.  Eyes were never meant to read

but to scan for tigers.  To scan for tigers at a


distance, shift to a close-up of one arm,

where a fallen insect uncurls, walks

among hairs.  Back again to distance, alert


for stripes among the foliage.  Mindful

of shadow among the shadows,

conspiracies of light.  The eyes,


he said, were meant for roaming.  The eyes

were meant for wildness.  Print, in its ant parade,

tyrannizes.  You can never look at a book


the way you look at a woman.  The woman

and the tiger share a sinuous flow that lets

the eyes slip by, even as they behold.


No grasping, ever, with the woman or

the tiger, though each may imprint upon the 

retina a memory that devours.


So which is more dangerous?  Books, too,

excite and inflame.  Banned and burned (and

come to think of it) some women burned too.      


Blake's tyger ignited him.  Every hunter burns.

We're on fire, he said lastly, from all we see.

Books and men and women turn to ashes in the end.


But the tiger remains an ember.

Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication