George Leslie Norris (21 May 1921 – 6 April 2006), was a prize-winning Welsh poet and short story writer. He taught at academic institutions in Britain and the United States, including Brigham Young University. Norris is considered one of the most important Welsh writers of the post-war period, and his literary publications have won many prizes. Mentioned below is a peom A Tiger In The Zoo.
The poem explains the situation of a Tiger in the Zoo. The poem begins by describing the physical features of the tiger. The tiger is kept in a little cage. The poet then goes on to describe how a tiger’s life would have been, if he was in the jungle. In the end, the poet once again explains the situation of the tiger in the cage. The poet says that cage life has changed the personality of the tiger. The tiger used to be a powerful and brave animal in the jungle. Tiger terrified the villagers. But, now the tiger has been confined in the cage. And has turned into a helpless and powerless animal.
The poet first describes the appearance of the tiger in the zoo. He says that the stripes on the tiger’s body are visible from a far distance. These stripes are darker in colour than the rest of his body structure. The tiger moves in the cage but can walk only a few steps as the cage is small. He walks quietly due to its smooth velvet pads. The tiger is full of anger, but he suppresses it due to his helplessness.
He stalks in his vivid stripes
The few steps of his cage,
On pads of velvet quiet,
In his quiet rage.
He should be lurking in shadow,
Sliding through long grass
Near the water hole
Where plump deer pass.
He should be snarling around houses
At the jungle’s edge,
Baring his white fangs, his claws,
Terrorising the village!
But he’s locked in a concrete cell,
His strength behind bars,
Stalking the length of his cage,
He hears the last voice at night,
The patrolling cars,
And stares with his brilliant eyes
At the brilliant stars.
In the second stanza, the poet imagines the life of the tiger in the jungle. He describes the other side of the tiger when he is a free animal. The poet says that, in the natural habitat, i.e the dark forest, the tiger would have been lying in the shadow of the tree or hiding in the long grass to prevent other animals from noticing his movement. In this way, he would reach the water hole where all the animals of the forest come to drink water. When a deer would pass through the water hole, he would attack him and have him as a meal for the day.
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