Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tiger Eyes

Tiger Eyes

Do you like a candle,
you said,
or in the dark? Whichever
you prefer,  
so willing an exchange,
my customs for yours,
letting me see
your ageless face change
in a spiderweb nimbus
our slick fingers chained,
your tiger-eyes close, 
flecked tawny hot
in the horrible not,
there to defy
the burst night of youth,
seeming to know
all I never found out, 
lit with the want
of what couldn't be had.

~July 2014

posted for      real toads

Challenge: Get Listed
Grapeling (it could be that) provides us with some photographic images of,and emergence from, the larval form, and a sharp, succinct word list, both of which I have made use of here. For full details see toads link above.

Image: Love The Conqueror, by Jean-Leon Gerome
Public domain via


  1. whew...maybe its just my own needs....ha....but this has an amazing heat to freee exchange of customs....the knowing of all things never found...and want...oh my...

    and i prefer candlelight...smiles.

  2. Future-framed, spiderweb nimbus, tiger-eyes close, flecked tawny hot// in the horrible not -

    Want//want not, always interesting to see where you'll take the word list HW ~ Another amazing write ~


  3. So much passion...

    "the burst night of youth" made my eyes open wide before moving forward.

  4. I sense the meeting of two fleshes (sharing customs or not) raging forward, through every line.

  5. Such an astounding piece, Hedge. The emotions contained within are so resonant, how could one not be affected by such depth of human feeling?

  6. This really seemed to change half way through, to both speed up and darken--starting almost with a kind of shy sort of exchange that is almost formal--the language of prefer and customs--and moving to something more primordial and even kind of desperate and dark--the change kind of comes with the face changing, and with the hot tiger eyes that, for me, were very reminiscent of Blake's Tyger Tyger when he talks of the tiger's eyes burning bright shaping the fearful symmetry. The "horrible not" is a particularly powerful phrase, I thought, and throughout all the wordplay is very effective--lovestruck with the candle (what a match!), the burst night of youth, and the searching at the end--the lines Jim quoted---a lot that couldn't be had, but sounds like what was had was perhaps more than was bargained for. The short lines add to the power and rhymes--great stuff. k.

  7. Burns with unfulfilled passion, what couldn't be had but so wanted. I love this.

  8. Don't we all want what we can't have? Because what most of us want, doesn't really exist, not in this messy world. I love "the burst night of youth". How you come up with such electric phrasing again and again amazes me. It makes reading your work such a pleasure, Joy.

  9. Ah, Joy, I am so glad you found a kernel in the list, which with your usual and unusual skill have exploded into something not suspected in the raw state. Which is a stupid way of saying that you both weaved and concealed this suspect love, this horrible (k)not that ties us all together. thank you for adding your voice to this prompt ~ M

  10. oh my, i just love this. somehow i feel the same thread running through both our poems for this prompt. and
    "flecked tawny hot
    in the horrible not"
    is just a classic!

  11. I wish that I had written this. Such exquisite heat!

  12. Hedge, there is a dreamy quality to this that seems to butt heads with sexy reality. Loved the tag, "Endless One-Night Stands"! The phrase, "in the horrible not" is brill. Your knowing all you didn't in the exquisite moment of climax, oh yes. Hot, in fact torrid. And you, girl, are on fire! Amy

  13. …I think we all have a "boy from Oklahoma"… this is just amazing poetry. I sat and "remembered" a bit myself…

  14. The paradox of tiger eyes is that they're so luminous they see and are seen in the dark, or seem so. As we see this apparition who prowls on one side of history or mystery or both, maybe out of the jungle, maybe from the next farm over in Oklahoma. Insatiable life or bringer of death, "flecked tawny hot / in the horrible not," or both, or neither, who knows, who cares when these words reconvene that good old bad old dance. PS: "Seems" is the operative distinction between knowing everything and knowing nothing. And the greys between provide plenty of room to dance on. Students of slant rhyme and monosyllabic descant should not be afraid to voyeur through this poem.

    1. Thanks, B. Every so often one is very simple to write. A lifetime to understand or maybe never understand the mystery it pokes its little bent stick at. I wrote a poem about this incident at the time (I was 24 or so) and lost it--the only thing I know is that I knew absolutely nothing about what I was talking about in it.

  15. Unbelievably real, raw, rich.

  16. so great. as Karin said, there's a Blake feel (a good thing, a great thing) but maybe even better and i'm a bit afraid to say it, this to me is teasing, Seuss-ish. wonderful.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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