"A Tiger in the Zoo" by Leslie Norris is a poem that describes the plight of a magnificent tiger who is trapped in a cage in a zoo. The poem begins by portraying the tiger as he paces back and forth in his cage, his vivid stripes contrasting sharply against the concrete walls. Even though the tiger's steps are quiet and his rage is suppressed, the speaker can sense the tiger's quiet fury, which is a stark contrast to his natural habitat, where he would be able to roam free.
The poem's second stanza describes what the tiger's life should be like if he were in his natural environment. The speaker envisions the tiger lurking in the shadows and sliding through the long grass, searching for prey near the waterhole where the plump deer pass. In this way, the tiger is shown as a natural predator, fierce and strong, living in harmony with the wild.
The third stanza portrays the tiger as a terrorizing figure, snarling around houses at the jungle's edge, baring his fangs and claws, and striking fear into the villagers' hearts. This description further emphasizes the tiger's power and majesty, which starkly contrasts his current condition of being trapped in a small cage.
In the fourth stanza, the speaker reminds the reader that the tiger is now locked in a concrete cell, his strength and power rendered useless behind bars. The tiger is shown to be pacing up and down the length of his cage, ignoring the visitors who come to see him.
The poem's final stanza describes how the tiger hears the last voice of the night, the patrolling cars, and stares up at the brilliant stars with his brilliant eyes. This final image reminds the reader that the tiger is still a majestic creature, despite being imprisoned in a small cage.
Overall, the poem highlights the cruelty of keeping wild animals in captivity and how it deprives them of their natural habitats and instincts. It serves as a poignant reminder to respect the natural World and work towards preserving these majestic creatures' habitats.