Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

National Poetry Month: “The Tyger” by William Blake


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of my favorite poems is “The Tyger” by William Blake. The poem is mesmerizing in its relentless hammered beat which represents the making of the fearsome tiger, as if its bright, burning coloring was forged from the fires of a mighty furnace.

I’ve thought it a contender for rap and amused my class trying to read it aloud as a rapper. I’ve had my class chant it unison with eerie results, thirty voices sounding as if we were practicing some Gregorian chant.

This time around I will silently appreciate its genius, and I hope you will also.

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 seize 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?

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5 thoughts on “National Poetry Month: “The Tyger” by William Blake

  1. Another good choice. I like this one too, and I like your tiger photo. I can just imagine the “Gregorian chant voices” of your students. 🙂

  2. Why don’t you have a recording of this rapping Pam. Hm?

  3. National Poetry Month: “The Tyger” by William Blake

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