Jade Emperor knew your value, all those years ago
choosing you as Heaven's Guardian
a plain, untested cat.
The animals were restless, down on earth below,
fighting humans and destroying
their lives and livelihoods.
Jade Emperor sent you down to quell the rioting
as humankind's defender -
a plain untested cat.
You defeated all the animals, drove them all away
to win your badge of honour -
a strip for every beast.
That is how you earned your stripes.
In return we claim to worship you.
Strange worship this, burning down your homes,
tearing you limb from limb,
grinding down your bones.
Thinking we can drink the essence of your strength,
steal your valour with your stripes,
become you by wearing you.
Is it not enough to see you, be inspired
by magnificence and grace, agility and strength,
evolution to perfection?
Your year dawns.
Inauspicious some say.
Perhaps that's your revenge.
The Year of the Tiger starts today. WWF are working on a concentrated tiger conservation programme for the Year of the Tiger and are aiming to double the number of tigers in the wild before 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. You can read about it here.