Treasure Island

Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

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A Dying Tiger—moaned for Drink


566

A Dying Tiger—moaned for Drink—
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Comments about this poem (A Dying Tiger—moaned for Drink by Emily Dickinson )

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  • Colleen Courtney (6/19/2014 10:31:00 PM)

    Yes peoples! She is speaking of the tigers eyeballs! Lol. I really love the first two stanzas but for some reason I find the whole last one just doesn't resonate well with the first two. I think she could have come up with a better way to end the piece while still having him die in the end.
    Love your little ditty there Capt'n! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Michelle Claus (6/19/2014 11:46:00 AM)

    I hadn't interpreted this poem in the *Rated R* way, but doing so certainly alters its tone. ;) Interpreting this work more mournfully, and with yearning, it haunts me. Do not care for its final line, but this central line captivates me: I could see a vision of the retina of water. This line swirls in mystique for my humble mind. (Report) Reply

  • Captain Cur (6/19/2014 5:45:00 AM)

    Emily was clever
    when she brought that drink
    she knew what every man
    who had a set
    would ultimately think.

    That's about as profound as I get. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (3/30/2014 7:26:00 PM)

    .....I love the fact the poet showed compassion and mercy for the dying tiger.....
    and went to offer him a drink...but was to late....a sad poem (Report) Reply

  • Ugochukwu Benjamin Aneke (6/19/2013 2:01:00 AM)

    In time of Death, the Doctor is not to be blamed for not speeding up his professional Acts.....the Victim either is not to be blamed for his/her death....no one is to be blamed when fate intervenes....no one is to be blamed when nature takes it cause. Emily.D (Report) Reply

  • Shahzia Batool (6/19/2013 12:36:00 AM)

    Emily D used to be my favorite poetess in student life... her pauses and caesurae inspired me much...this is a great poem! (Report) Reply

  • Allison Helman (6/19/2012 9:57:00 PM)

    Did Ms. Dickinson pray to revive a tiger who might well have seen her as prey? Assuaging guilt and balancing it against the savage law of survival, Ms. Dickinson did cup her hand with only drops of water from a stone, not nearly enough to corporally save a tiger so, such drops could only be a baptismal appeal to enlighten the savage. The imagery is a little less sharp than usual for one of the most lucid poets I have ever read as it is unlikely it was forged from actual experience. Whether she found inspiration for this poem from watering her lilies or not, I say wonderful to this dear, gentle, gifted soul. (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (6/19/2012 11:14:00 AM)

    Emily Dickinson wrote poetry for herself; she didn't seek publication, notoriety, fame. She led a rather insular life, and from there, her imagination supplied the grist for her material. I love that her poetry is free of ego and vanity. (Report) Reply

  • Martin O'Neill (6/19/2012 2:06:00 AM)

    I am with Yacov on this one. Most 'great' poets have a few truly stunning poems and a lot of average ones in print. Emily Dickinson is no different. I actually rather like this one, the picture of the dead eye reflecting her and the water she bore and the acknowledgement of the helplessness she felt. It paints an interesting vignette. (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (6/19/2011 8:03:00 AM)

    Unique picturisation of a stronger in helpless moment of its evaporation. Documentation of a death depicts the poetic strength of an word-artist. Diction with its ultimate message makes the reader much conscious about a timeless creation in poetic field........
    'Twas not my blame—who sped too slow—
    'Twas not his blame—who died
    While I was reaching him—
    But 'twas—the fact that He was dead—

    Yes, the fact is that, no one is much powerful than death. And it happens, when time comes whether it be a wild tiger or a little mouse. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (6/19/2010 8:14:00 AM)

    This is a very interesting poem.

    The Poet stands before the dead tiger seeing her charitable gesture in its eyes, and she feels the eyes accuse her for its death.

    When we give charity too late to be of use, it is a temptation sometimes to blame the recipient – “Why did you make it impossible for me to do you good? ” And it is also tempting to blame ourselves - even though we did all we could humanly do we felt that “we sped too late”. In failing to do good, we sometimes feel someone must be blamed.

    But when our charity becomes pointless because the need for it has gone, then, so long as we tried as hard as we could, we can attribute blame to no one. We need to be stoical and accept the situation. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (6/19/2010 2:18:00 AM)

    Prey of tiger cannot escape and so also the fate of tiger cannot be changed by mercy! (Report) Reply

  • Yacov Mitchenko (6/19/2010 1:06:00 AM)

    This poem is by no means among her best. For all its strange syntax and violations of conventional grammar, it is nonetheless clear. In the beginning, the speaker sees a dying tiger, and then proceeds to find some water for it. By the time she returns with water, the tiger is dead. Curiously, she and the water are reflected in the tiger's eye. I've had a somewhat similar experience with one of my cats, while I did everything to help save it or at least alleviate some of its suffering. This poem is about compassion, but that even compassion often has its limits. The sufferers still have to suffer and die alone, while those around are often helpless. They can't help in the way they feel is adequate.

    I love Emily's work, though as in the case of most classic poets, her reputation is inflated. Out of the nearly 2000 poems she wrote, I cannot find more than about 25 that are truly great. Most of her work reads like footnotes on grand or serious themes, which is to say that they are nowhere near sufficiently developed enough to stand as satisfying poems. They simply end too abruptly.Yes, less is often more; I certainly prefer suggestiveness to plain statement. BUT she takes it to the extreme: most of her poems lack richness precisely because there is insufficient development of theme.

    For those readers who love animal poems I strongly recommend those of Robinson Jeffers, in particular 'Hurt Hawks' and 'Vulture'. He has written some of the best I've ever read. (Report) Reply

  • Is It Poetry (6/19/2009 5:03:00 PM)

    It has been awhile, I know Emily.
    To know and stay unknowing,
    mighty sand it drinks it dries it.
    Frantically, held aloft soft palms.
    Once heavy, so helpless, waning.
    Sun grasps tigers soft, last moan.
    How they wonder even when sea,
    in lives wave there deaths abased. (Report) Reply

  • Adeline Foster (6/19/2009 4:35:00 PM)

    Sorry fellows, but she meant the balls to be the globes of the eyes—note the immediate reference to the retina. She was looking into them as into a crystal ball. There they saw the saving possibility–water and she. Many of Emily Dickenson’s poems deal with the transitory condition of life. Her mother died in her young childhood; she nursed her father until his death. Her apparent acceptance of these facts and yet a quest to understand is found throughout her writing. The compassion and yet the acceptance is found in this poem. This is a deep traverse into the very essence of her thinking.
    Adeline (Report) Reply

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