Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Rachel Hadas: Tiger Stripes

Hiding, asleep, invisible
for hours in some mysterious cell,
the tiger cat emerges, yawning.
His stripes replicate the awning
of the Anxiety Hotel
where so many nights are spent.
After his interlude out of sight
curled up away from noise and light
someplace where no one could intrude
until he sauntered out for food,
the cat seems sleepy and content.
 
Camouflage stripes of gold and brown:
the tiger world is melting down.
Caught in a beam of morning sun,
massive transitions are going on,
each nation and each generation
vying for who will take possession
of the Hotel Anxiety
(who wants to manage it?  Not me).
Who gets to stay?  Who has to go?
Process laborious and slow.
Who moves ahead?  Who stays behind?
Musclebound combatants grunt and grind.
Who’s the owner?  Who’s the heir?
And will the fearful future care?
 
Striped camouflage of grey and black:
there’s never any turning back.
Once the place is emptied out,
what was all the fuss about?
The fissures in the family,
the rivalry, the enmity:
door now ajar, each vacant suite,
blank windows staring at the street,
hotel abandoned, no life left – 
we barely even feel bereft.
 
Camouflage stripes of grey and brown,
the tiger world is winding down.
Disruption on a local scale –
no one is forwarding the mail.
Shadows slide down a blank wall.
Our hotel is very small.
The stripes are vibrating: illusion,
the camouflage of our confusion.
The cat sits up and licks his paws.
We’re all obedient to laws
too massive to assimilate.
It’s still early.  And it’s late.
 

Rachel Hadas’s many books include Poems for Camilla (Measure Press, 2018).

Copyright 2021 Rachel Hadas

One comment on “Rachel Hadas: Tiger Stripes

  1. Barbara Huntington
    January 21, 2021

    I love the rhythm and rhyme, but more the many ways my mind travels with the cat and the Anxiety Hotel.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on January 21, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders and tagged , , .

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