I am weary

1 May 2022 | Humankind | 0 comments

I am not God’s little lamb,

I am God’s sick tiger.

and I prowl about at night,

and what I love I bite,

and upon the jungle grass I slink,

snuff the aroma of my mental stink,

taste the salt tang of tears upon the brink

of my uncomfortable muzzle.

My tail, my beautiful, my lovely tail,

is warped.

My stripes are matted, and my coat once sleek

hangs rough and undistinguished on my bones.

O God, I was so beautiful when I was well.

My heart, my lungs, my sinews and my reins

consumed a solitary ecstasy,

and light and pride informed each artery.

Then I a temple, now a charnel house.

Then I a high hozannah, now a dirge.

Then I a recompense of God’s endeavour,

now a reproach and earnest of lost toil.

Consider, Lord, a tiger’s melancholy

and heed a minished tiger’s muted moans,

for thou art sleek and shining bright

and I am weary.

Thy countenance is full of light

and mine is dreary.


Stevie Smith (1903-71), Little Boy Sick, 1978.

Notes from the Compiler


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *