Adrienne Rich
Aunt Jennifer's Tigers (1951)

1

Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,

2

Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.

3

They do not fear the men beneath the tree;

4

They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

 

 

5

Aunt Jennifer's fingers fluttering through her wool

6

Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.

7

The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band

8

Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

 

 

9

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie

10

Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.

11

The tigers in the panel that she made

12

Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.