Never Tiger – Ricardo Pau-Llosa

For most artists it sufficed to throw a tiger

pelt on a house cat and claim the beast

of soul was captured in the silk of mind.  The error

was so common as to resist the test

of facts, when tigers finally came to zoos

in Kyōto, Edo, and Ōsaka.  Then the real

cat rose in rebellion against Truth’s

contrivance. Still, those proffered rank ideal

burned through the tinder of vagrant hearts.  The leap

was taken by the agèd Hokusai whose lion on a fukusa

is dragon spun, a portrait freed from deep

unraveled thought at its triumph ravenous.

He shuns those sleepy reeds where others stir.

An old youth might just this hunger master.

My eighth book of poems will be released this fall by my longtime publisher Carnegie Mellon University Press (Pittsburgh, PA).  My poems have also appeared recently, or are forthcoming, in: Ambit, American Journal of Poetry, American Literary Review, Blackbird, Boston Review, Burnside Review, The Common, december, Hotel Amerika, Ilanot Review, Island, New England Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prism, Stand, Vayavya, and others.