Adrienne Rich, Leaving Cert Complete Poetry Notes
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Table of Contents
Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers
Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.
Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.
When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.
The speaker tells us about her Aunt Jennifer's needlework tapestry, which features beautiful, bright tigers prancing. The tigers are strong and have no fears; Aunt Jennifer, though, is not so free. The speaker tells us about the metaphorical weight of Aunt Jennifer's wedding band, and implies that her marriage was unhappy and held her back from the life that she wanted to live.
The speaker then tells us that, when Aunt Jennifer is dead, she will still wear the ring that symbolizes the marriage that trapped her. But, the speaker says, the tigers will keep prancing in her needlework, and Aunt Jennifer will be immo...