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Tiger stripes


Tiger stripes, chinese-script like! Black ink on paper-like orange hide.

Tiger stripes- shadows of slow burning embers

That flare into a burning fire on the coldest night.

Tiger stripes- disappear into a ominous black streak

As the predator pounces on its prey.

Tiger stripes- are they marks

Left by a heated branding iron pressed against tender skin

Stamped into the tiger’s furry hide?

Tongues of fiery heat play beneath the stripes.

Tiger stripes- they suddenly come alive, like live calligraphy

Crawling, creeping, and then surging like a wave.

How precise is that bent of angle-

A wave thrusting its force to capsize a harmless boat-

Tiger stripes- dilate, enlarge, expand. They hypnotise…

And then the heart pounds rapidly, an instinctive primal fear in its quarry’s eyes.

Perhaps the divine in an artistic frenzy painted

Each stripe, subtly, like the Sumi artist.

Tiger stripes, Zen thick black brushstrokes,

Alacrity sharpens the mind in meditation.

Still the mind is! Yet agile,

Nothing can disrupt this stillness!

The mind’s eye -doughty and fearless

As if it were peering into the mirror that reflects

A wild eyed tiger in action, leaping, chasing, and pinioning

Unaware of its furrowed black stripes.



©Mumtaz Khorakiwala

Image courtesy: Keyur Nandaniya

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