15 March 2018

Poetry Thursday - Tiger Girl (Surprised!) by Pascale Petit

What joy to find, when flipping through an art magazine - RA spring 2018 issue - a poem inspired by, or related to, or springing from, a painting.* Instead of encountering history or conjecture or art-speak, we have something real to read - "news that stays news", was it TS Eliot who said that?

And look how composedly it sits on the page.

Tiger Girl (Surprised!)

When lightning flickers over my cot
and the air tingles

with the electric charge 
of the great cat's fur -

     I cross into the night
     where my jungle tent is pitched. 

wondering what is this angel
crouched above me,

     her coat of icicles,
     her eyes like meteors
     shooting into my face.

My hand is a brave monkey
reaching up to touch her fangs -

     while all the hairs of my body
     rise like wind in a storm

     as she brands me with her stripes.

Pascale Petit (b.1953) grew up in France and Wales. She trained as a sculptor at the Royal College of Art and was a visual artist for the first part of her life. She lives in London, where she tutors poetry in the galleries of Tate Modern and at the Poetry School, which she co-founded.

*If you closely at the top right of the page, you'll see the word FICTION - and on the previous page is a short story by William Boyd. But I'm not sure that poetry is "fiction" (nor is it "fact") - yes, like fiction (and all art) it's a work of the imagination, but why not just call it "poetry" - is that a scary word?

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