Today's poem is by Robert Siegel

        Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

Like these shadows
I flow in and out of myself.
In a stand of bamboo, I am invisible
until my mouth flashes a rose
and another lies under my claws.

In the green shade I flow with ambiguities.
The birds above debate my arrival
until I take shape at the center,
absolutely necessary, giving form
to the redundancy of leaves,
to the panicked circuses of monkeys.

My voice, a low engine turning over,
guttering, has a certain resonance,
vibrates through every root, climbs through
the cilia of insect-eating plants,
travels along the vines
and through the toppling kingdom of the ant.

I drag my victim from the waterhole—
the cow, the zebra, the wildebeest—
and feast among my retinue, who boast
and chatter of my deeds at a respectful distance.
I am regal and lazy in my eating,
tolerant, when full, of those paying court,

hyena, jackal, and other politicians,
each suing for bones-his own and the other's—
while I perform my ablutions in public
like Louis XIV, no least fretting or cleansing

of my fur beneath the scruple of each eye.
You might say it is my finishing school—
not the least thing lost on those around me
of how they should behave toward one another.
You might say my feasting establishes order
that ripples out in circles

to the least and frailest link in my kingdom.
Even the table I lay is splendid
and instructive-glistering, colorful,
spread out in the sun—
creating symmetry, perfection, a hush
that follows on my velvet tread.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Siegel All rights reserved
from Within This Tree of Bones
Cascade Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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