Thursday, 27 July 2017

Parodying 'The Tyger'


The tyger. Only a mother could love it. 

Re-imagining famous poetry has become a source of great amusement to me. Many a happy afternoon has been spent taking long walks during which I resolve to think about my Honours thesis, only to inevitably find myself cackling away and dashing home to scribble out a parody of The Raven

Yet sometimes the parodies are thought up deliberately, coming about through a desire to write something for a friend: a rhyming birthday card, perhaps, or a silly limerick during a time of stress. 

A few months ago, a very dear friend was telling me about her work on plant diseases and biosecurity. She made the mistake, however, of mentioning that her co-worker had written a whole rap about Xylella fastidiosa (raising the bar for co-workers everywhere, quite frankly) and challenged her to write something in return.

I've never been one to do my friends' homework, and considering I've laughed at this particular friend's wit for years, I don't think she needed my help. Nevertheless, her plant disease du jour, fireblight, wandered into my mind and began a singsong loop in its own honour: "Fire, fire, burning blight..." 
Beyond a brief and insincere apology to William Blake, what more is there to say? 

The Fireblight, by Rosalind Moran (with the help of William Blake and his poem The Tyger)

Fire, Fire, burning blight,
In the forests of the night;
What data or criteria,
Could frame thy cruel bacteria?

And why with distant shoot and apple
Did thine sickness choose to grapple?
On what wind did thou ensnare
The health and beauty of the pear?

And what malice, and what art?
Doth make thee tear young fruit apart?
And doth thine pathogen love grief
When oozing forth on wilted leaf

When the stars threw down their spears
(And NZ imports stopped for years)
Did fireblight smile its work to see?
In browning leaves on blighted tree?

Fire, Fire, burning blight,
In the forests of the night;
What data or criteria,
Could frame thy cruel bacteria?

This poem was originally published here, along with an article I wrote to give a brief explanation of what fireblight actually is. One learns something new every day!


  1. This is definitely the most fresh yet funniest thing i have came across. What a brilliant ideas to use cat for re imagination. Keep up the good work!

  2. Such a kind and encouraging comment - thank you!

  3. You have done pretty impressive work on this blog and its post related to the thesis paper online, keep doing well and keep updating .....