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  #1  
Unread 07-09-2019, 06:14 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default Dream Tiger

(Final Draft?)

Dream Tiger

I saw a blaze, one of the last dynastic
attackers, crouching where the city dies.
From homes made out of garbage, out of plastic
sheeting and castoff metal, almond eyes
marveled at jungle in a feline guise:
Whose life this time? Whose wife? Whose firstborn child?
The killer’s countenance was godlike wise.
Those streets had to remember they were wild.

I saw an innocent, a spindly goat,
nibbling weeds beside a soccer ball.
I saw his nub horns and inviting throat.
Death, when it struck, was orange, a Bengal
suddenness, and a cursive crimson scrawl
came jetting out, as if the cat were writing,
“There's no more room for me, no room at all.
Doomed for a long time, I will go down fighting.”

. . . . .


(Revision)

Tiger

Came see the blaze, one of the last dynastic
attackers, crouching where the city dies.
From homes made out of garbage, out of plastic
sheeting and castoff metal, almond eyes
marvel at jungle in a feline guise:
Whose life this time? Whose wife? Whose firstborn child?
The killer’s countenance is godlike wise.
These mud streets must remember they were wild.

There is an innocent, a spindly goat,
nibbling weeds beside a soccer ball.
Observe his nub horns and inviting throat.
Death, when it strikes, is orange, a Bengal
suddenness, and a cursive crimson scrawl
comes spurting out, as if the cat were writing,
“There's no more room for me, no room at all.
Doomed for a long time, I will go down fighting.”

. . . . .

(Original)

Dream Tiger

I saw a blaze, one of the last dynastic
attackers, crouching where the city dies.
From homes made out of garbage, out of plastic
sheeting and castoff metal, almond eyes
marveled at jungle in a feline guise:
Whose life this time? Whose wife? Whose firstborn child?
The killer’s countenance was godlike wise.
Those streets had to remember they were wild.

I saw an innocent, a spindly goat,
nibbling weeds beside a soccer ball.
I saw his nub horns and inviting throat.
Death, when it struck, was orange, a Bengal
suddenness, and a cursive crimson scrawl
came spurting out, as if the cat were writing,
“There's no more room for me, no room at all.
Doomed for a long time, I will go down fighting.”

. . . . .


Lines 13-14 were
suddenness, and the sacrifice, ragdoll,
spoke on the cat's behalf, in crimson writing:

Lines 14-15 were
jetted, on mangroves, gouts of cursive writing:
"Big cats have no more room, no room at all.

Lines 15-16 were
“There’s no more room for me, no room at all.
Doomed for a long time, I will go down fighting.”

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-10-2019 at 06:59 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 07-09-2019, 06:33 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

OK, I'm guessing this is the Sundarbans. Very nice, with the usual verve in rhyme and organization. It's perhaps a bit Orientalist, but that may be inevitable, given your topic. Would the goat go down fighting? Maybe. I've seen antelope, even gnu, bow the head, which i always found striking.

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Unread 07-09-2019, 07:29 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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John, thank you. To clarify who is speaking in the closing couplet, I have made revisions.

“There’s no more room for me, no room at all.
Doomed for a long time, I will go down fighting.”

is now

"Big cats have no more room, no room at all.
Doomed for a long time, we will go down fighting."
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  #4  
Unread 07-09-2019, 07:32 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Oh! yes, that makes more sense. But it does give the game away, which I regret a bit. I enjoyed googling the Sundarbans. The mangroves led me there. I quite like that the poem looks very Orientalist at first blush and is in fact only a tad Orientalist. Folks have preconceptions (and lazy thinking).

Cheers,
John
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  #5  
Unread 07-09-2019, 07:41 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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This is gripping, Aaron. It gave me the shivers. I read it as a dream-vision in the key of apocalypse, a darker version of the theme treated by Edwin Muir in “The Horses.”

One thing: I don’t get the grammar in “marveled at jungle in a feline guise”—maybe add the definite article before “jungle,” to avoid the tonto-speakish sound there.

My favorite of yours, recently.
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Unread 07-09-2019, 09:48 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Well done as always, Aaron.

FWIW, the tension seeps out for me as soon as the goat is introduced, showing that no human will be harmed in the reading of the poem. Maybe that's species-ist of me. (If the poem wants me to think of the goat's poor owner, that's species-ist of it.) More likely, I'm missing the point.

Announcing in the title that this is a dream also helps release the reader from worry and fear; I'm not sure what's gained. The tiger can be as symbolic without being dreamt.
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Unread 07-09-2019, 11:46 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Max, thank you. I will take your suggestion and go with simply "Tiger" as the title. We'll see how that works.

Yes, I am not hard-core enough to have the Tiger rip apart a human being. I used a scapegoat instead.

Best, best,

Aaron
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  #8  
Unread 07-09-2019, 12:04 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Hi Aaron,
this is strong.

I have a bit of trouble with the setting. If you want the specificity of Sundarbans Tiger attacks in the Sundarbans, then the city setting makes no sense--there are only villages near the reserve where tigers prey on people and their livestock. On the other hand, if you want a less literal interpretation, then the mangroves come out of nowhere, and are not a setting that one would associate with tigers.

Martin
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  #9  
Unread 07-09-2019, 12:29 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello, Martin, I didn't intend any particular reserve or city in India. I was aware of tiger-human conflict on the outer borders of Indian cities, for example: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/w...iger-hunt.html

From what I understand, mangroves are where Bengal tigers most like to hang out.
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  #10  
Unread 07-09-2019, 12:34 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Aaron, is there any particular reason you acknowledged Max’s and Martin’s comments but not mine? Even if it wasn't useful, my comment was made in good faith, which is the only thing we have to go on in these forums.
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