Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tiger, Tiger

In our house there are two tigers, one little and one big. They hide behind bushes in our garden, climb trees, and play fight round and round the house. They are the cutest little tigers you could ever see.

By now of course you have probably realised that these are no ordinary tigers. In fact, they are my two smallest sisters, Gemma-Rose, and Sophie. But they like to believe that they are tigers. Dressed in their tigerskin shirts, with their tiger ears slipping down over their eyes occasionally, they roam their jungle world, navigating the dangers that every tiger must face.

"What kind of tiger am I?" Gemma-Rose asked me, perching on the arm of my chair dressed in her white tiger suit.
"And what kind am I?" Sophie asked.
"Where do tigers live?"
"Where do they sleep?"

I get bombarded with every possible question about tigers. I might start to get angry and tell them to go away. After all, I do have other things to do besides impart knowledge about tigers. But I liked to dress up too, when I was their age.

I can distinctly remember playing dress-ups outside from the age of six or so. Our collection of dress-up outfits started with a few items of clothing that weren't wanted, plus a few special pieces, some made by our Nana. Armed with these clothes, Charlotte and I were ready to turn the garden into a whole new world.

Massive, shiny, party dresses, far too big for our small bodies, were alternatively sheets on hotel beds, long, dangly curtains at windows, walls of tents, or even (horrors of horrors) ball gowns at the royal party. We tottered around the garden in worn out high heels that were far too big for our tiny feet. Incidentally, this might be where my deep seated horror of wearing high heels came from.

During our games, a tree might be a ship, or a house, or a horse. The possibilities were endless. Anyone who has ever had even the smallest amount of imagination and a couple of dress-ups will understand the endless games that can be played. And I certainly had more than my fair share of imagination. Poor Charlotte.

So, in our house live two tigers, one big and one little. I love them both, even though their questions are endless. And they make me think of William Blake's poem 'The Tiger.'

The Tiger

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


  1. I wish I was still young enough to dress-up in costumes and play! I miss my days as a kid! :( They look like they're having fun, and I love their fascination for tigers! :)

    Sorry I thought I commented earlier but I never saw the word verification thing!

  2. I love the Tiger, but did you know that it was actually written tyger, tyger?

  3. I used to dress up a lot. I don't as much now but, my younger brother Rogan is always dressing up Moran and Myffwyn. :D
    It is actually very interesting with the designs he and the little girls come up with.☺

  4. @Lillian May, I wish I wasn't too young to drss up too. There's still so many games I could have played. Don't you always regret that? I often miss the word verification thing too. It's so annoying when I do that, because I've got to retype the whole comment.

    @Romi, I did know that it was actually spelt tyger. I prefer it spelt that way, but decided to use modern English for readability. I'm glad you like the poem. It's one of my most favourite ones.

    @Vellvin, Small children seem to have endless ideas for games. I often wonder at how much imagination they have, but then I remember that I still have lots of imagination of my own!

    Thank you all for commenting. It was such a lovely surprise to sign in this morning and find three comments sitting there waiting for me.

  5. I remember the mad things we did in the dress ups. Pity we didn't have tiger costumes then. Oh well. We probably would have just played pretend. That was almost as fun as the dress ups.

  6. I comment because I know how it feels to get a comment! When I get one I get all excited to see the comment! I'm making a new post tomorrow (if i have enough time), but i'm always busy on school days!

  7. Oh, yes I understand! That's probably a good idea!
    It's written and mentioned in Michael Morpurgo's Running Wild, which is a fantastic book- i recommend you read it, your whole family would enjoy it I think, it's about wild animals, Tigers, what's happening in the rainforests ect.
    It's wonderful.
    Oh thank you! I'm glad you like Treasure Island, it's a mystical book! ( : I didn't know that he wore poems... what are they like?

  8. @ Charlotte, I don't think anyone played pretend quite as well as we did.

    @ Lillian May, I'm looking forwards to reading your new post. I think everyone loves getting comments, which is why I love commenting on other people's blogs.

    @ Romi, I love Michael Morpurgo's books. We have quite a lot of them in our library and they buy them quite quickly after they're first published. I'm pretty sure that I've read Running Wld, but now that you've reminded me I really want to read it again.

  9. I still love dress ups. *gasp shock horror* I don't often "dress up" on costumes I prefer to put together what clothes I have in different ways and come up ( subconsciously at times) with a character to go with it. But, dressing up is so much fun!

  10. @Autumn, I don't get to the dressing up part of it, but I do pretend to be someone. I particularly like prentending I'm an elf. There's something so mysterious and attractive about them.