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Image description: A white young man is standing in front of a orangish/whitish wall. He is wearing a white T-shirt, grey-ish pants, and a brown belt. He is shining “SHINE.”

Purpose: I translated this poem because it is commonly studied in school, and I wanted to provide access for the Deaf community. To better understand this poem, I also translated Blake’s other poem “The Lamb”. I strongly recommend that you watch Crom Saunders’s translation as well. I also wanted to highlight the cinematic aspects of ASL, especially flashbacks, special transitions, and simultaneous images (like the lighting bolts and the stars’ spears). I do not personally wish that anyone experience the actual events of this poem.

Translation notes: I introduced the stars early on in the poem in accordance with the author’s other poem where the stars are gathered around. The following lines are from the Four Zoas, Night Five, Plate 64 (E344): “I went not forth. I hid myself in black clouds of my wrath / I calld the stars around my feet in the night of councils dark / The stars threw down their spears & fled naked away”.

Gratitude: I am thankful for Crom Saunders’s translation of this poem, from which I borrowed his “Y” handshape representing the wings in flight toward the sun. I hope we see more translations from all of you!

Title: The Tiger

Author: William Blake

English text:

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?

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silentgrapevine

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