Ezra Pound used images of women throughout his career for different ends—to love, to make love to, to revile. One of his most compelling poetic techniques was to interweave feminine depictions with aesthetic concerns, linking images of the female mind, anatomy, and sexual response to the acts of creating poetry and living the intellectual life. In three early poems—“The Garden” (1913), “Portrait d’une Femme” (1912), and Homage to Sextus Propertius (1919)—Pound manipulated representations of women to express his artistic predilections.
The fearful, gloomy woman waiting inside her darkening room for the emotional and meteorological devastation to hit could be Aunt Jennifer, who is similarly passive and terrified, overwhelmed by events that eclipsed her small strength. "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" is, however, an even clearer statement of conflict in women, specifically between the impulse to freedom and imagination (her tapestry of prancing tigers) and the "massive weight" of gender roles and expectations, signified by "Uncle's wedding band." Although separated through the use of the third person and a different generation, neither Aunt Jennifer in her ignorance nor Rich as a poet recognizes the fundamental implications of the division between imagination and duty, power and passivity.
From A Separate Vision: Isolation in Contemporary Women’s Poetry. Copyright © 1984 by Louisiana State University Press.