All creatures great and small

We’re in the poetic animal kingdom this week with illustration inspiration from Ruth and also Japanese illustrator Miroco Machico.

The poems (in full below) are The Tyger by William Blake, The Cat and the Sea by RS Thomas, A Popular Personage at Home by Thomas Hardy, The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll and Dragonfly by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

First in were Rachel’s watercolour seaside cat and Beth’s smiling croodile in pastels.

Coming next into the menagerie, two by two, were Trish’s watercolour dragonfly, cats, dogs and dragonfly!

Next, a portrait in charcoal of Anne’s dog Holly- very definitely a ‘popular personage at home’ like Thomas Hardy’s dog, immortalised in his poem.

And keeping a look out on the painted ocean … Mavis’s maritime moggy..


The Cat and the Sea
by RS Thomas
It is a matter of a black cat 
On a bare cliff top in March 
Whose eyes anticipate
The gorse petals;
The formal equation of 
A domestic purr
With the cold interiors 
Of the sea's mirror.

A Popular Personage at Home
by Thomas Hardy

‘I live here: “Wessex” is my name: 
I am a dog known rather well:
I guard the house but how that came 
To be my whim I cannot tell. 

‘With a leap and a heart elate I go
 At the end of an hour’s expectancy 
To take a walk of a mile or so
With the folk I let live here with me. 

‘Along the path, amid the grass 
I sniff, and find out rarest smells 
For rolling over as I pass
The open fields toward the dells. 

‘No doubt I shall always cross this sill, 
And turn the corner, and stand steady, 
Gazing back for my Mistress till
She reaches where I have run already, ‘

And that this meadow with its brook, 
And bulrush, even as it appears 
As I plunge by with hasty look,
Will stay the same a thousand years.’ 

Thus ‘Wessex.’ But a dubious ray
At times informs his steadfast eye, 
Just for a trice, as though to say, ‘
Yet, will this pass, and pass shall I?’ 
The Tyger by William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies,
 Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art, 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
 In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
 Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears 
And water'd heaven with their tears:
 Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile 
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
 How neatly spreads his claws, 
And welcomes little fishes in, 
With gently smiling jaws.
Dragonfly by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

     This sky-ballerina,
     this glimmering
    glides in a gown
    of lucid blue –
   with wings that you
  could whisper thrOUgh

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