El tigre o de la tripodología al cuadrado

“En mis aguas territoriales vive un tigre herido”, 1993 / Carlos Luna

Son no pocas las apariciones que el tigre tiene en el arte; desde la antigüedad hasta la literatura moderna y en otras diversas disciplinas, la iconografía y simbolismo del tigre atraviesa la vida humana de punta a punta, lo que no implica que sea posible llevar a cabo una revisión exhaustiva de su presencia.

Digamos tan sólo, por principio de cuentas, que en la China ancestral, donde ha aparecido el fósil más arcaico del padre del tigre moderno, con una antigüedad de un millón de años, este animal es uno de los doce signos que rigen una amplia parte del espectro celestial y, por tanto, de la vida del pueblo chino; símbolo del imperio, la majestuosidad, el renacimiento y la belleza, vía mística de acceso al paraíso, remoto dios de la guerra y de la muerte, encontramos sin embargo la etimología de su nombre para nuestra lengua unida a la de un célebre río, el “Tigris”.

De origen persa, esta palabra designa ante todo un atributo: la agudeza. Acudiendo al Diccionario General Etimológico de la Lengua Española, de Eduardo de Echegaray, Ingrid Umaña se refiere en un artículo a su significado como al de una “flecha o dardo, aludiendo a la rapidez de su trayectoria. Río así llamado por la rapidez de su curso”. En la mitología hebraica, recuerda la autora, el Tigris es uno de los cuatro ríos del paraíso terrenal, uno de los cuatro brazos de la tierra; en tanto que en Mesopotamia, su fuente resulta ser uno de los ojos de Marduk, el dios creador (el otro ojo de la deidad da a luz al río Éufrates).

Cuando Dionisos, el dios griego del entusiasmo regresa de la India a sentarse en el trono del Monte Olimpo como una de las doce deidades principales, se cuenta que el carro de su cortejo, que integran Sileno, sátiros y bacantes, es tirado por tigres. Además de que Dionisos es deidad de la muerte y el reverdecimiento del mundo, la purificación de las esencias y el renacimiento de la vida, uno de sus mitos al aludir al río Tigris —que habría sido bautizado así al transformarse el dios en este animal para seducir y salvar de sus aguas a una ninfa— remite a dicho elemento como a una vía de acceso a la bienaventuranza, otra alegoría del paraíso, un término del persa que —evoquémoslo— quiere decir “jardín”.

Con todo, las dos referencias más marcadas del tigre me vienen de dos autores modernos, y la primera no es exactamente paradisiaca. Se trata de William Blake, con su ya célebre poema “El tigre”:

 

Tigre, tigre que ardes

en los bosques de la noche

¿qué mano, qué ojo inmortal

trazó tu temible simetría?

 

¿En qué lejanas profundidades,

en que cielos ardió el fuego de tus ojos?

¿Con qué alas osó elevarse?

¿Qué mano tomó ese fuego?

 

¿Y qué hombro, y qué arte/

tejió la nervadura de tu corazón?

Y al comenzar sus latidos

¿qué mano terrible, qué terribles pies?

 

¿Qué martillo? ¿Qué cadena?

¿En qué horno se templó tu cerebro?

¿En qué yunque?¿Qué tremendas garras osaron

sus mortales terrores dominar?

 

Cuando las estrellas arrojaron sus lanzas

y bañaron los cielos con sus lágrimas

¿sonrió al ver su obra?

¿El que hizo al cordero te hizo a ti?

 

Tigre, tigre que ardes

en los bosques de la noche

¿qué mano, qué ojo inmortal

trazó tu temible simetría?

 

De Jorge Luis Borges, la segunda referencia es no a “El oro de los tigres”, sino al prólogo de su Libro de sueños, en el que a partir de Coleridge, quien expresaba que “las imágenes de la vigilia inspiran sentimientos, en tanto que en el sueño los sentimientos inspiran imágenes”, el argentino señala que si un tigre entrara al “cuarto, sentiríamos miedo; si sentimos miedo en el sueño, engendramos un tigre”, con lo que se denota otra de las características de este félido: el miedo que inspira y que lleva marcado en su cerebro hirviente y en el fuego de sus ojos, concebido (como la belleza en el himno de Charles Baudelaire) no se sabe si en las cúpulas paradisiacas o en los abismos más insondables.

Es por esta naturaleza terrible y tremenda (es decir, que tiembla y hace temblar) que al leer el verso de “Pasión, pasión y muerte”, de Vicente Huidobro, donde se dice “saltando meridianos como un tigre herido sangra y aúlla mi corazón”, uno no puede menos que sentirse intrigado por lo que ha herido y hace aullar a un tigre que, en este caso, también es un corazón. Sin embargo, la línea celestial y terrenal del carácter del tigre ha sido traspuesta, y quizá haya ingresado en un ámbito más humano y personal, más lírico.

Sin contar al tigre de Malasia (Sandokan, de Emilio Salgari) que, efectivamente, se encuentra en otro ámbito por entero distinto, aunque en dicha novela se busque antropomorfizar el poder, la astucia y majestad de este félido, El tigre en la casa, de Eduardo Lizalde, pone un tono más mundano y jocoso a la figura del gran gato, el cual viene más ad hoc con los obsesivos días de cotidianeidad desaforada y sin sentido que se viven en estos tiempos.

Así, por poner sólo el ejemplo del inicio, en el poema “El tigre”, se lo baja del pedestal, como a todas las cosas que, por otro lado, tuvieron un sentido sagrado de antiguo, y se le confiere el de una metáfora del amor carnal, para continuar como “una blanda furia/ no expresable en palabras” en la tercera parte del poemario.

De cualquier modo, sea que se trate de un símbolo del poder, la transmigración, el acceso al jardín, lo terrible encarnado, el miedo, la belleza, el amor carnal o una desesperación alegre que no ha terminado de consumarse, el hecho de buscarle tres pies al gato se vuelve más complejo si pensamos que el tal félido es el rey de las fieras, por lo que, con esta idea en mente, trataremos de subir la apuesta de este Tractatus Tripodologico-Phelinus o dicho de otro modo, de esta tripodología felina o arte de buscarle tres pies al gato, sin morir en el intento, claro, y sin herir al tigre.

RMM/OAG / TRIPODOLOGÍA FELINA

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