Up to the moment of the yellow sunset,
how many times will I have cast my eyes on
the sinewy-bodied tiger of Bengal
to-ing and fro-ing on its paced-out path
behind thelabyrinth iron bars,
never suspecting them to be a prison.
Afterwards, other tigers will appear:
the blazing tiger of Blake, burning bright;
and after that will come the other golds—
the amorous gold shower disguising Zeus,
the gold ringwhich, on every ninth night,
gives light to nine rings more,
and these, nine more,and there is never an end.
All the other overwhelming colors,
in company with the years, kept leaving me,
and now alone remains
the amorphous light, the inextricable shadow
and the gold of the beginning.
O, sunsets, O tigers, O wonders
of myth andepic,
O gold more dear to me, gold of your hair,
which these hands long to touch.
East Lansing, 1972
Translated by Alastiar Reid