Tiger in the Zoo
He stalks in his vivid stripes
The few steps of his cage,
On pads of velvet quiet,
In his quiet rage.
He should be lurking in shadow,
Sliding through long grass
Near the water hole
Where plump deer pass.
He should be snarling around houses
At the jungle’s edge,
Baring his white fangs, his claws,
Terrorising the village!
But he’s locked in a concrete cell,
His strength behind bars,
Stalking the length of his cage,
He hears the last voice at night,
The patrolling cars,
And stares with his brilliant eyes
At the brilliant stars.
~ LESLIE NORRIS
About the poem:
The poem 'A Tiger in the Zoo' by Leslie Norris portrays the life of a tiger in a cage. The tiger is initially shown as an animal who is measuring his steps to plan something huge. He has vivid stripes on his body and is stalking the cage as he is walking around it. His feet are soft like velvet, and he has rage in his eyes. He is angry about being caged instead of being out in the open. If he was free, he would have lurked near the water hole eyeing plump deer amidst the long grass. He would also be terrorising the village with his presence. He has claws and white fangs with which he terrorises humans. But he is locked in a concrete cage, and he keeps ignoring visitors. He can hear the patrol sound every night and waits for the stars to appear as it is his only solace.
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. Tiger in the Zoo - Leslie Norris (pp. 29-31). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.