Tiger in the Night

Korea -- 2001


A tiger lived here once; how hard to hunt
His supper must have been in these dry sticks,
Old mountains going bald behind the town.

Beware the tiger, watch his yellow eyes, they whispered
To the the lads who wandered careless, calling lovers
In the trails of frosty night; but the spirits of these hills
Lost their hold on tiger's heart, nor could he crave bland tastes,
Gagged at battery fed babies, pompous in nylon socks.
His supple coat of gold and black
Seemed gauche amid the concrete girders of new times.

So ancient powers departed one by one, and when we woke
The streets were safe but dull; our clockwork hearts
Had learned to tell the hours, yet could not sense the tiger in the night.


Thor, 2001

Time Passing -- A Miscellany of Poems; ŠThor May 2001     index