or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cat Got Yer Tongue

I have been variously busy with work and knitting and reading (actual books, not online) and also preparing for an upcoming trip to New York, and consequently have nothing to offer in my usual line of edification and condemnation, but it occurred to me that you might not ever have seen this piece of whimsy, a parody of Blake's "The Tiger" by A. E. Housman, its especial genius being that once you have read it you can never again read the original with a straight face (because if nothing else when you read "brain" in Blake you will immediately think "bray"), and even if you have seen it, it never gets old, and so I share it with you.

O have you caught the tiger?
And can you hold him tight?
And what immortal hand or eye
Could frame his fearful symmetry?
And does he try to bite?

Yes, I have caught the tiger,
And he was hard to catch.
O tiger, tiger, do not try
To put your tail into my eye,
And do not bite and scratch.

Yes, I have caught the tiger.
O tiger, do not bray!
And what immortal hand or eye
Could frame his fearful symmetry
I should not like to say.

And may I see the tiger?
I should indeed delight
To see so large an animal
Without a voyage to Bengal.
And mind you hold him tight.

Yes, you may see the tiger;
It will amuse you much.
A tiger is, as you will find,
A creature of the feline kind.
And mind you do not touch.

And do you feed the tiger,
And do you keep him clean?
He has a less contented look
Than in the Natural History book,
And seems a trifle lean.

Oh yes, I feed the tiger,
And soon he will be plump;
I give him groundsel fresh and sweet,
And much canary seed to eat,
And wash him at the pump.

It seems to me the tiger
Has not been lately fed,
Not for a day or two at least;
And that is why the noble beast
Has bitten off your head.


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