This poem speaks about the constraints and duties of married life that a woman experiences.
The poet’s aunt Jennifer has embroidered tigers on a screen that appear like bright yellow topazes, dwelling in the forest. The tigers prance across the screen and pace courageously, not fearing the men that are embroidered below the trees on the screen.
But the chivalric tigers that Aunt Jennifer has embroidered are a striking contrast to Aunt Jennifer herself. As she embroiders, her fingers flutter through the wool and unlike her steady and strong tigers, she finds it a difficult task to even pull the ivory needle through the wool. This proves that aunt Jennifer has probably become frail because of her duties as a wife. The weight of the poet’s uncle’s wedding band prevents Aunt Jennifer’s hands from moving freely while embroidering. This shows that she is overburdened by her duties and cares.
Even when Aunt dies, her hands will still have upon them the wedding band and rings, which symbolise the constraints of married life and the terrible ordeals that she had to face in life. But the tigers that she embroidered will still prance across the screen, proud and unafraid.