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Volunteers’ Week Featured Poem: The Tyger by William Blake

Written by Harriet Eakin, 4th June 2017


Especially for Volunteer's Week, our Featured Poem comes from our Volunteer anthology Poets Don't Lie. William Blake's The Tyger has been chosen by Barnet volunteer Fred.

Fred says:

During my time as a volunteer, one poem stands out asit produced a superb response from the attendees at the Shared Reading group in a dementia care home. The poem was The Tyger by William Blake. The atmosphere in the room was stunning, electric, as we read it together.

I'm sure the poem helped the attendees recall past memories (one can never be certain about there matters) as we read it out aloud again and again, and when I later asked members of the group to discuss what the poem was about. The pace and repetition of words within the poem elicited a great response/discussion between members within the group who normally don't talk to each other.

The Tyger

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

By William Blake

Poets Don't Lie 

In 2016 Volunteers from Reader projects across the UK were invited to submit poems which meant something to them. The poems and the stories which accompanied them were brought together to create this anthology. 

Poets Don't Lie is available for purchase on The Reader website with all proceeds supporting our Shared Reading work across the UK.

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