Sunday, February 19, 2006

Dreaming of a Tiger

I dreamed I was hiking in Banff, Canada (a wild, beautiful place that had a huge impact on me when I visited it last summer, even as my marriage was falling apart), with my friend Tim (Tim wasn't with me on the trip, but there he was in the dream), who I haven't seen for a long time (which I feel guilty about because he and his wife have a beautiful new son that I haven't met yet), and we were talking about philosophical issues (one of the reason I love Tim like a brother), and we were being stalked by a tiger that looked just like this (having read David Quammen's Monster of God lately, the vivid cover staying in my mind):

I don't really have anything profound to say about it... I just woke up and it is still percolating in my mind... I also watched Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets lately:

... which has a scene with a tiger cub that is in a cage in the back of the bar, and petty hood's who are barreling toward a violent destiny (that they cannot escape) looking at it and wondering about this wild creature locked in a cage. I was watching it alone and started quoting William Blake's "Tiger, Tiger," the first poem I ever memorized:

The Tiger
by William Blake, 1757–1827

TIGER, tiger, 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 seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and 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?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Leaving me shivering this morning wondering why a tiger was lurking last night in my fearful symmetry:

Fascination with the wild places that heal the soul, the important politics of friendship, the rusty cages of civilization that constrict the spirit, seeking insights from poetry, the importance of questions, the difficult languages of love (and sex)... and coming to terms with the absurd wound of life ... must be sunday...

No comments: