Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Watercolour by Tony Taylor http://www.paintingbreaksguernsey.com

Sunday, 2 November 2014

EYE OF THE TIGER


I first heard Michael Swan read at the annual Poetry on the Lake festival at Lake Orta in Italy some years ago. 

The festival's been described as "perhaps the smallest but possibly the most perfect poetry festival in the world" and it certainly lived up to this accolade. In the course of a splendid weekend, I heard Michael read several times, along with such other notables as Carol Ann Duffy, Chris Considine, Caroline Carver, Susi Clare and Christopher North. 

Michael’s poems are deceptively simple yet full of subtleties. Not for him the self-defeating obscurity of so many poets nowadays.

Whilst working for the Guernsey Arts Commission, I was able to recommended Michael for the role of Writer in Residence at the Arts and Islands Conference that took place in Guernsey and, once again, had the opportunity to attend his readings. 

You can find some of these on You Tube and a good starting point might be at 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS3Csu7ytk0   

There you can hear him reading It’s Wednesday, a poem that will strike a chord with many.

I’d also recommend you seek out Michael’s poetry collections: 

When They Come For You  and The Shapes Of Things 

both are available online at:-  


In selecting a Michael Swan poem to publish here, I was faced with a hugely difficult choice. After much deliberation, and a thoroughly enjoyable re-reading of both his books, I’ve opted for Tiger Dreams.

TIGER DREAMS

Child
one day
you will meet a tiger.

You and the tiger
face to face.

What will you do?

I know you.
You will hold out
to the tiger
on your bare hand
a small globe
spinning,
throwing light at all angles.
And you will tell the tiger your dreams,
and a special thing
that only you know.

And the tiger will come close,
press her muzzle to you
- if she were not a wild creature
you would swear
it was a kiss.
And in her turn
she will tell you a secret.

For a long time
you will share each other’s eyes.

You will go away
pad, pad, pad;
and when no one is looking
you will wash your fur
with your rough tongue.

And the tiger
will tell your dreams
to her babies.

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