Kia ora koutou,

Once upon a time a doctor said to me, ‘You have entered Tiger Country, Renée, and when you least expect them, the tigers will come out.’

So I wrote a poem about tigers.
We all have them, different tigers for different times. I have a few and sometimes they sleep and sometimes they wake up and snarl. You will know the experience. I don’t know what your tigers are and vice versa, but tigers are tigers, metaphorically speaking, so here’s the poem…

Tiger Country

You plunge off the cliff into Tiger Country
sleek and smiling tigers play hide and seek
slope around abandoned chairs, sad tables
silk cushions call encouragement from the sofa
an old painting turns its face to the wall.
Tigers lurk in old cards, beneath yours forever
snooze under Christmas lights that never worked
lope ahead to a destination only they know
signposts are suspect; there is no tunnel, no light
nobody pins a tail on these tigers.
Some nights after the sun has flamed
and seabirds search the pastures of the sea
tigers come out and lean gentle over your chair –
wrap you in a striped shawl of sturdy warmth
fold their paws and purr soft in the silent room.
This is the danger time. Stand up. Walk slow.
Their eyes are on the game and you’re it.