Tiger Poem for Tiger Picture

 

Well. I’m tired but I wanted to post a poem and have decided to follow the wit of the last photo I posted.  This is from my first book The Next Ancient World.

Villanelle: If You Want to Be a Bad-Ass

You will not be rewarded for remaining long the same.
You will, of course, be taunted if you ever try to change.
When trainers wander off, tigers, please do not stay tame.

Consistency is worse, it brings the wrong kind of fame.
The orbit of right action has a freakin’ woolly range.
You will not be rewarded for remaining long the same.

It, inertia, is a pity.  It, stagnation, is a shame. Yet you
yourself preach caution as you pace your unlocked cage:
“When trainers wander off, tigers, please do not.  Stay tame.”

Be a mountain if you want to, be the whole mountain range.
Will you, in turn, be hostage to your hostage on the page?
You will not.  Be rewarded for remaining long the same?

You can say what you want when the angel makes you lame.
You can wrestle against water, you can rape your own rage
(when trainers wander off).  Tigers, please do not stay tame.

As hard as bleeding a tree to death by cut and squeezing, change
from out of the gut of the rut’s range will be insanely hard.
But you will not be rewarded for remaining long the same,
when trainers wander off, tigers, please do not stay tame.

— JMH

 

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About jennifermichaelhecht

I'm a poet with a PhD in the History of Science from Columbia University and I've written five books, two poetry, two popular philosophy, one intellectual history. I live in Brooklyn with my husband and our two little kids. I teach seminars in poetry in the MFA programs at The New School and at Columbia.
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