An offering of grain;
an offering of drink.
Blind tiger forgive us
for making you a stuffed head.
Your jaws set to grimace
for a hundred years.
Your eyes as jewels
reflecting the setting
suns of empires.

Is the tiger listening
to the trees?
Place its skull in the river,
force open its jaws,
place a leaf on its tongue.


How many winters
has the tiger endured?
Watching with its glass eyes
the decay of shires.

Suddenly, snowdrops in hedgerows.
The child in the birch bark cot
coos to himself.
He is warm in his bed of moss;
in his fish skin clothes.

The wind rattles the claws and teeth
which hang dangling on strings
above the cradle.
Clack of tiger tooth
on bear claw.


Blind tiger your forests are gone
and the rivers silt with effluent.

They have dressed you
in plastic wrappings
and tied bags of excrement
to your tail.

It is better
they pull out your claws and teeth;
leave your feet bleeding,
leave the bloody sockets of your mouth.

Let them drug you,
forever pacing your cage;
until each bone is rendered,
until you are flayed again.


Blind tiger I have hunted you
in my dreams.
Your wound has left
its blood trace in dust
or on pebbles
by a mountain stream;
or mixed in the resin of tall pines.

I have wondered
at the drowning
of my grandfather
in fire and water.

I have stood at the edge
of the wound’s dark hole;
the stars are simple here.


My mouth is crammed with birch twigs
and the hills lie in abasement;
only the contaminated earth
and sulphurous rain.

They found your skin
in an out-house;
last of your species
rotten and moth-worn.

Blind tiger, it is not what I expected
when I awoke;
to stand on the final mountain
as waters rise.

Life is ending in this putrid crucible;
and I am here cupping water.


The hole in my mother’s heart
is the hole in the fuselage.
The wrecked bomber which floats
on the surface of an icy sea.

Those that are left
cling to its shattered wing;
but already their bodies
are being covered by waves.

My Father’s father lies
elsewhere without an eye,
in the rank humidity
of a field hospital.

The flower in the tiger’s mouth
is not dissimilar from our own.

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