I like animals more than people, so I like
Anyone know any good cat poems (or a site devoted to)?
There is a guy from Manchester (your side of the pond) named Les Barker
email@example.com He is a poet/musician, appropriately named since most of his songs/poems deal with dogs. A favorite is "The dog formerly known as Prince". It's a hoot.
If you like dogs you don't have to go far, read 'For Sasha' by JH Summers, on user submitted site. I liked it. By the way, in case you didn't see my other responses, I'm also from Yorkshire, spent a lot of time in Ripon, do they still blow the horn in the square?
Stephen, Thanks for the web site. Scanned it briefly and liked what I saw. Will be sure to return later as time permits. Cat poems, don't know of any sites, post if you find one please. In the meantime here is one of mine:
The Little Cat
The little cat
No more is seen,
Upon a favorite lap.
The little cat
No more curls up,
In a sunbeam for a nap.
The little cat
No more is wrapped,
Around my busy feet.
The little cat,
His body spent,
Lays down for endless sleep.
Stephen, Re: cat poetry.[www.cindydrew.com]. Also, if you're on AOL run a search for CAT POETRY, there are alot of sites. jhs
have you tried T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats."?
Might seem a little bit sad to you, but here are 2 on death:
'Another Dog's Death' by John Updike can be found at
[www.npr.org] /> And I don't know if you'll appreciate this one but here it is:
An Unusual Cat-Poem
By Wendy Cope
My cat is dead
But I have decided not to make a big tragedy of it.
It's very sad when you answer your own posts, but I have to share this with you. It's by my favourite actor, James Stewart.
by Jimmy Stewart
He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all.
When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I'd grab him, he'd turn and bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house on fire
But the story's long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.
On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.
He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.
But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.
We are early-to-bedders at our house--
I guess I'm the first to retire.
And as I'd leave the room he'd look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I'd give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I'd fish it out with a smile.
And before very long
He'd tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.
And there were nights when I'd feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I'd pat his head.
And there were nights when I'd feel this stare
And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I'd feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.
He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he'd be glad to have me near.
And now he's dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.
And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he's not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.
How true is that?
Desi stole my suggestion!
Crosses arms and pouts
j/k, T.S. Elliott's poetry is indeed superb; my favourite being Gus the theatre cat.
ne boude pas! I didn't mean to upset you. Will you ever forgive me? ;-)
A good cat site: www.geocities.com/petsburgh/1041/catst/catpoems.html
My favorite cat poem, though, is not on this site; it's by Alastair Reid:
May have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering litter on litter of kittens, predictably.
Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems,
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.
Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die--
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.
Only the curious
have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.
Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do.
A dog poem--
They dumped it on the lonely road,
Then like a streak they sped;
And as along the way I strode
I thought that it was dead:
And then I saw that yelping pup
Rise, race to catch them up.
You know how silly wee dogs are.
It thought they were in fun.
Trying to overtake their car
I saw it run and run:
But as they faster, faster went,
It stumbled, sore and spent.
I found it prone upon the way;
Of life was little token.
As limply in the dust it lay
I thought its heart was broken:
Then one dim eye it opened and
It sought to like my hand.
Of course I took it gently up
And brought it to my wife
Who loves all dogs, and now that pup
Shares in our happy life:
Yet how I curse the bastards who
Its good luck never knew!
Oh alright then, here's another cat - or is it granny?- poem -
CUSHIONING THE BLOW
We thought it best to leave the cat with Ted
along with Grandma, when we went away.
No sooner were we home from holiday
than, bluntly, he announced the cat was dead.
“Listen!” I said, “Bad news is better told
obliquely--such as, ‘Bess went climbing on
the roof, and fell. Her legs and back were gone.
They tried to save her but she was too old.’ ”
Ted--who’s direct but not a thoughtless man--
was chastened (so he said) and mortified.
“Don’t worry, Cousin Edward”, I replied.
“We all drop clangers. By the way, how’s Gran?”
“Not great”, he said. “In fact, to tell the truth,
last night she went out climbing on the roof……”
Someone else from Ripon? How could you leave? Where are you? Fancy a pint of Old Peculier?
Yes, they still blow the horn. I didn't reply on the other post because of the sexual nature of the subject matter. We Riponians are very sensitive about gamahuche references.
Ee, that were grand!
Aye lad, ows tha ernia? Ist tha fair t' middlin yet? Gamahuche - that's not a Yorkshire word I recognise. JP
In answer to your last question, I refer you to
Note, the procedure is not recommended to be performed whilst playing rugby, especially against Ampleforth.
Otherwise, my hernia is healing nicely thankyou.
Enough with the cod Yorkshireisms already, or I'll post Albert and the Lion and make you read it.
I've just checked your email address - limey! Are you an expatriate in the colonies then?
You don't need to threaten me, or like Ma, I'll get vexed. I don't actually hail from Ripon, spent many summers at Littlethorpe. Now I live in Illinois, but I miss England, her sights and sounds, etc. JP
I was born in 1945 and lived in Lock House, on the canal and visible from Littlethorpe, and went to Littlethorpe Church. My best friend was John David Metcalfe who lived in the village. Any Ripons in Illinois to match the one in Wisconsin?
Oh, and my dad admitted (sheepishly but proudly) that I was conceived on Ripon Racecourse. I was a VL baby - he was in the Home Guard, and they thrashed Lincolnshire on maneuvres. A celebratory Old Peculier, and here I am. Not many people can say that. My mother lived her life vexed, so you don't frighten me.
No Ripons in Illinois that I'm aware of. I remember the canal, though not Lock House. My cousin and I used to stay with her Dad and stepmother in a little house, with a pump in the back yard, and a barrel of rainwater outside the door. I remember well, dipping the 'wigglers' out of the washbasin in the mornings. The only boy I remember was one called Alex, with beautiful eyes and bright, white teeth, could have been an ad for 'Gordon Moores'. I had a terrible crush on him, but he was much older, all of about five years, but when we were young that was a lifetime. JP
Another cat poem (with a warning to poets)...
The Cat and the Pig
Once, when I wasn't very big
I made a song about a pig
Who ate a fig
And wore a wig
And nimbly danced an Irish jig.
And when I was as small as THAT
I made a verse about a cat
Who ate a rat
And wore a hat
And sat (you guessed) upon a mat.
And that, I thought, was that.
But yesterday upon my door
I heard a knock; I looked and saw
A hatted cat
A wigged pig
Who chewed a rat
Who danced a jig
On my door mat!
They looked at me with faces wise
Out of their bright enquiring eyes,
'May we come in? For we are yours,
Pray do not leave us out of doors.
We are the children of your mind
Let us come in. Be kind. Be kind.'
So now upon my fireside mat
There lies a tireless pussy cat
Who all day long chews on a rat
And wears a hat.
And round him like a whirligig
Dancing a frantic Irish jig
Munching a fig, cavorts a big
They eat my cakes and drink my tea.
There's hardly anything for me!
And yet I cannot throw them out
For they are mine without a doubt.
But when I'm at my desk tonight
I'll be more careful what I write.
I'll be more careful what I write.
Do radioactive cats have 18 half-lives?
>Do radioactive cats have 18 half-lives?
Actually, one of mine had radiation therapy a few years back for thyroid problems. Since she's now 13, and still queen of the house, I guess so.
It's amazing how resilient cats are - mine (Nigel) has already survived things like a funnel-web bite and bouncing off the side of a speeding bus - i think they need all the lives they can get!
Here's a cat poem. Is it just me, or does this author's name sound like the beginning of a dirty joke?
Guy Wetmore Carryl. 1873–1904
56. How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted
A POET had a cat.
There is nothing odd in that—
(I might make a little pun about the Mews!)
But what is really more
Remarkable, she wore 5
A pair of pointed patent-leather shoes.
And I doubt me greatly whether
E'er you heard the like of that:
Pointed shoes of patent-leather
On a cat! 10
His time he used to pass
Writing sonnets, on the grass—
(I might say something good on pen and sward!)
While the cat sat near at hand,
Trying hard to understand 15
The poems he occasionally roared.
(I myself possess a feline,
But when poetry I roar
He is sure to make a bee-line
For the door.) 20
The poet, cent by cent,
All his patrimony spent—
(I might tell how he went from verse to werse!)
Till the cat was sure she could,
By advising, do him good. 25
So addressed him in a manner that was terse:
"We are bound toward the scuppers,
And the time has come to act,
Or we'll both be on our uppers
For a fact!" 30
On her boot she fixed her eye,
But the boot made no reply—
(I might say: "Couldn't speak to save its sole!")
And the foolish bard, instead
Of responding, only read 35
A verse that wasn't bad upon the whole.
And it pleased the cat so greatly,
Though she knew not what it meant,
That I'll quote approximately
How it went:— 40
"If I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree"—
(I might put in: "I think I'd just as leaf!")
"Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough"— 45
Well, he'd plagiarized it bodily, in brief!
But that cat of simple breeding
Couldn't read the lines between,
So she took it to a leading
She was jarred and very sore
When they showed her to the door.
(I might hit off the door that was a jar!)
To the spot she swift returned
Where the poet sighed and yearned, 55
And she told him that he'd gone a little far.
"Your performance with this rhyme has
Made me absolutely sick,"
She remarked. "I think the time has
Come to kick!" 60
I could fill up half the page
With descriptions of her rage—
(I might say that she went a bit too fur!)
When he smiled and murmured: "Shoo!"
"There is one thing I can do!" 65
She answered with a wrathful kind of purr.
"You may shoo me, and it suit you,
But I feel my conscience bid
Me, as tit for tat, to boot you!"
(Which she did.) 70
The Moral of the plot
(Though I say it, as should not!)
Is: An editor is difficult to suit.
But again there're other times
When the man who fashions rhymes 75
Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot!
Llewellyn And His Dog
The spearman heard the bugle sound,
And cheerily smiled the morn;
And many a brach, and many a hound,
Obeyed Llewellyn's horn.
And still he blew a louder blast,
And gave a louder cheer:
"Come, Gelert, come, why are thou last
Llewellyn's horn to hear!
"Oh, where does faithful Gelert roam?
The flower of all his race!
So true, so brave -- a lamb at home,
A lion in the chase!"
'Twas only at Llewellyn's board
The faithful Gelert fed;
He watched, he served, he cheered his lord,
And sentinel'd his bed.
In sooth he was a peerless hound,
The gift of Royal John -
But now no Gelert could be found,
And all the chase rode on.
And now as over rocks and dells
The gallant chidings rise,
All Snowdon's craggy chaos yells
With many mingled cries.
That day Llewellyn little loved
The chase of hart or hare;
And scant and small the booty proved,
For Gelert was not there.
Unpleased Llewellyn homeward hied,
When, near the portal-seat,
His truant, Gelert, he espied,
Bounding his lord to greet.
But when he gained the castle-door,
Aghast the chieftain stood;
The hound all o'er was smeared with gore --
His lips, his fangs ran blood!
Llewellyn gazed with fierce surprise,
Unused such looks to meet,
His favourite checked his joyful guise,
And crouched and licked his feet.
Onward in haste Llewellyn passed
And on went Gelert too --
And still, where'er his eyes were cast,
Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view!
O'erturned his infant's bed he found,
The bloodstained covert rent,
And all around, the walls and ground,
With recent blood besprent.
He called his child -- no voice replied;
He searched -- with terror wild;
Blood! blood! he found on every side,
But nowhere found the child!
"Hell-hound! my child's by thee devoured!"
The frantic father cried;
And, to the hilt, his vengeful sword
He plunged in Gelert's side!
His suppliant looks, as prone he fell,
No pity could impart;
But still his Gelert's dying yell,
Passed heavy o'er his heart.
Aroused by Gelert's dying yell,
Some slumberer wakened nigh:
What words the parent's joy can tell,
To hear his infant cry?
Concealed beneath a tumbled heap,
His hurried search had missed,
All glowing from his rosy sleep
The cherub-boy he kissed.
Nor scathe had he, nor harm, nor dread --
But the same couch beneath
Lay a gaunt wolf, all torn and dead
Tremendous still in death!
Ah! what was then Llewellyn's pain,
For now the truth was clear;
The gallant hound the wolf had slain,
To save Llewellyn's heir.
Vain, vain was all Llewellyn's woe;
"Best of thy kind, adieu!
The frantic deed which laid thee low
This heart shall ever rue!"
And now a gallant tomb they raise,
With costly sculpture decked;
And marbles, storied with his praise,
Poor Gelert's bones protect.
Here never could the spearman pass,
Or forester, unmoved;
Here oft the tear-besprinkled grass
Llewellyn's sorrow proved.
And here he hung his horn and spear,
And there, as evening fell,
In fancy's ear he oft would hear
Poor Gelert's dying yell.
Hon. W. R. Spencer
Here's a dog poem ... I think
Writing you this, I can feel a dewclaw
pushing through the skin an inch above my thumb.
I'll sign this letter with a muddy paw.
Since you've been gone
I've grown a little wilder every day,
like a dog on one of those abandoned farms
out in the srub-pine country between the rivers.
I'm living in just one room of the house,
I've turned it into a lair.
I wake there by the bones of my last meal.
I'm eating rare steaks, loving the taste of blood.
Yesterday, grabbling in the creek,
I caught six redhorse with my hands
and ate them for supper.
Late in the afternoon I sit out back
and watch the woods creep closer to the house.
Rabbits come up into the grass and nibble.
Sometimes they sit for minutes a time
watching me warily. They know I can't be trusted.
Tomorrow or the next day I may pounce
and bolt one squealing, beating heart and all,
snapping his bones between my teeth.
I walk in the woods at night and strange scents
curling from folds of wind
stir whines and whimperings in my throat.
If you don't come soon
I know I'll range farther and farther off
into my woodsy dreams.
When you do return, you'll find the grass
knee-high around the house, the doors all open,
chewed bits of fur and feathers in the bedroom,
bones buried in your bedroom slippers.
I will have taken up
with some skinny, yellow-eyed bitch from the woods.
By late summer, lovers parked by cattle bars
will swear they saw me running with wild dogs
that drag down sheep and cattle between the rivers.
--Jim Wayne Miller
from "The Georgia Review"
Came by email, no author mentioned:
To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock’s bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell.
To sit, to stare Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal’s opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt.
To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there’s the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household’s petty plagues,
The cook’s well-practiced kicks, the butler’s broom,
The infant’s careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten?
Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor’s yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans’ faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?
Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.
Alec, the great
- a lovely book by Edwina
( drawings by her, quatrains by her brother Robert Dennis)
1001 verses ( yep, 1001 )
each one with its corresponding drawing, really cute
I came across this book when doing a small research to
help a friend update a bio on Edwina
. . .
and my favorite poem, by a favorite poet ( I love cats . . . )
A. S. J. Tessimond (1902-1962)
Cats no less liquid than their shadows
Offer no angles to the wind
They slip, diminished, neat through loopholes
Less than themselves; will not be pinned
To rules or routes for journeys; counter
Attack with non-resistance; twist
Enticing through the curving fingers
And leave an angered empty fist.
They wait obsequious as darkness
Quick to retire, quick to return;
Admit no aim or ethics; flatter
With reservations; will not learn
To answer to their names; are seldom
Truly owned till shot or skinned.
Cats no less liquid than their shadows
Offer no angles to the wind.
With the hot weather, my cats have been wishing that they could 'melt their too solid flesh.' At least that's what I'm assuming when I find them sprawled across the bed.
Ilza you win the prize for best cat poem discovery! Wow!
Here's a nice 'un -
Eleanor Farjeon (1881 - 1965)
Atter her, atter her,
Scatter her, scatter her
Off her mat!
Treat her rough!
Git her, git her,
Catch her, catch her,
Don't miss her!
Run till you're dithery,
How she spits!
Can't she scratch!
Scritching the bark
Of the sycamore-tree,
She's reached her ark
And's hissing at me
Tessimond's poems are amazing, aren't they ?
here is another . . .
by A.S.J. Tessimond
We are a people living in shells and moving
Crablike; reticent, awkward, deeply suspicious;
Watching the world from a corner of half-closed eyelids,
Afraid lest someone show that he hates or loves us,
Afraid lest someone weep in the railway train.
We are coiled and clenched like a foetus clad in armour.
We hold our hearts for fear they fly like eagles.
We grasp our tongues for fear they cry like trumpets.
We listen to our own footsteps. We look both ways
Before we cross the silent empty road.
We are a people easily made uneasy,
Especially wary of praise, of passion, of scarlet
Cloaks, of gesturing hands, of the smiling stranger
In the alien hat who talks to all or the other
In the unfamiliar coat who talks to none.
We are afraid of too-cold thought or too-hot
Blood, of the opening of long-shut shafts or cupboards,
Of light in caves, of X-rays, probes, unclothing
Of emotion, intolerable revelation
Of lust in the light, of love in the palm of the hand.
We are afraid of, one day on a sunny morning,
Meeting ourselves or another without the usual
Outer sheath, the comfortable conversation,
And saying all, all, all we did not mean to,
All, all, all we did not know we meant.
Ilza where have you been all my life: doncha ever leave me!
I've ordered from the library the two volumes of his they have in stock. When I've steeped m'self, I'll post again.
Well, the library came up trumps. Two Tessimonds:
The Walls Of Glass, Methuen Gateway Poets series, pub. 1934
Voices In A Giant City, Heinemann, pub. 1947
Both first editions!
The first contains "Cats, no less liquid than their shadows" and another cat poem "To walk as you walk, green eye, smiler". The second contains "The British". I am working my way through the books now. Do you have them both? If not, do you want me to send the poems to you as a word doc.? In which case, give me an email address.
are you talking to me ?
first editions ! lucky you !
I hope you enjoy them !
by the way . . . Walls of grass is worth nearly US 200
( it is rather rare, you know )
Tessimond published only three books in his own lifetime
( Jul 19,1902-May 13,1962)
( which is ironic, considering he was an editor ) :
The Walls of Glass (1934)
Voices in a Giant City (1947)
then there was Not Love Perhaps (1972), and
The Collected Poems of A.S.J. Tessimond ( 1985)
I do have all 5 ( 3 of them stored elsewhere )
( there is one with birds drawings which
seems rather silly, or so I think , for I don't have it )
here is some bio info - from BBC, I guess
( I don't 'see him' as described) :
Arthur Seymour John Tessimond was born in Birkenhead, England.
An only child, he was educated at Charterhouse
He went to Liverpool University and then moved to London
where he worked in bookshops and then as an advertising copywriter.
He was an eccentric with depressive tendencies
whose inheritance went either on night-life or on psychoanalysts.
He was given electric shock treatment
and this may have contributed to the brain haemorrhage that later killed him.
His work shows great clarity and often humour.
He wrote about the ordinary and about city stereotypes.
Some of his poems are conversation-poems
and these often capture his tendency towards melancholy.
from Not love perhaps :
This is not Love perhaps
-Love that lays down
Its life, that many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown,
But something written in lighter ink, said in a lower tone:
Something perhaps especially our own:
A need at times to be together and talk -
And then the finding we can walk
More firmly through dark narrow places
And meet more easily nightmare faces:
A need to reach out sometimes hand to hand -
And then find Earth less like an alien land:
A need for alliance to defeat
The whisperers at the corner of the street:
A need for inns on roads, islands in seas, halts for discoveries to be shared,
Maps checked and notes compared:
A need at times of each for each
direct as the need of throat and tongue for speech.
Black Monday Lovesong:
In love's dances, in love's dances
One retreats and one advances.
One grows warmer and one colder,
One more hesitant, one bolder.
Wouldn’t you say,
Wouldn’t you say: one day,
With a little more time or a little more patience, one might
Disentangle for separate, deliberate, slow delight
One of the moment’s hundred strands, unfray
Beginnings from endings, this from that, survey
Say a square inch of the ground one stands on, touch
Part of one self or a leaf or a sound (not clutch
Or cuff or bruise but touch with finger-tip, ear-
Tip, eyetip, creeping near yet not too near),
Might take up life and lay it on one’s palm
And, encircling it in closeness, warmth and calm,
Let it lie still, then stir smoothly-softly, and
Tendril by tendril unfold, there on one’s hand…
One might say examine eternity’s cross-section
For a second, with slightly more patience, more time for reflection?
from his working experience, perhaps ? ... comes this poem :
Attack on the Ad-Man ( excerpt )
This trumpeter of nothingness, employed
To keep our reason dull and null and void.
This man of wind and froth and flux will sell
The wares of any who reward him well.
Praising whatever he is paid to praise.
He hunts for ever-newer, smarter ways
To make the gilt seem gold; the shoddy, silk:
To cheat us legally: to bluff and bilk
By methods which no jury can prevent
Because the law's not broken, only bent.
Just to add another to the thread--
Dinah in Heaven
"The Woman in His Life"
She did not know that she was dead,
But, when the pang was o'er,
Sat down to wait her Master's tread
Upon the Golden Floor,
With ears full-cock and anxious eyes,
But ignorant that Paradise
Did not admit her kind.
Person with Haloes, Harps, and Wings
Assembled and reproved;
Or talked to her of Heavenly things,
But Dinah never moved.
There was one step along the Stair
That led to Heaven's Gate;
And, till she heard it, her affair,
Was--she explained--to wait.
And she explained with flattened ear,
Bared lip and milky tooth --
Storming against Ithuriel's Spear
That only proved her truth!
Sudden--far down the Bridge of Ghosts
That anxious spirits clomb--
She caught that step in all the hosts,
And knew that he had come.
She left them wondering what to do,
But not a doubt had she.
Swifter than her own squeal she flew
Across the Glassy Sea;
Flushing the Cherubs everywhere,
And skidding as she ran,
She refuged under Peter's Chair
And waited for her man.
There spoke a Spirit out of the press,
Said: "Have you any here
That saved a fool from drunkeness,
And a coward from his fear?
"That turned a soul from dark to day
When other help was vain;
That snatched it from Wanhope and made
A cur a man again?"
"Enter and look," said Peter then,
And set The Gate ajar.
"If I know aught of women and men
I trow she is not far."
"Neither by virtue, speech nor art
Nor hope of grace to win;
But godless innocence of heart
That never heard of sin:
Neither by beauty nor belief
Nor white example shown.
Something a wanton--more a thief--
But--most of all--mine own."
"Enter and look," said Peter then,
"And send you well to speed;
But, for all that I know of women and men
Your riddle is hard to read."
Then flew Dinah from under the Chair,
Into his arms she flew--
And licked his face from chin to hair
And Peter passed them through!
Time for another dog poem. Sort of.
A Puppy Called Puberty (1985)
It was like keeping a puppy in your underpants
A secret puppy you weren´t allowed to show to anyone
Not even your best friend or your worst enemy
You wanted to pat him stroke him cuddle him
All the time but you weren´t supposed to touch him
He only slept for five minutes at a time
Then he´d suddenly perk up his head
In the middle of school medical inspection
And always on bus rides
So you had to climb down from the upper deck
All bent double to smuggle the puppy off the bus
Without the buxom conductress spotting
Your wicked and ticketless stowaway.
Jumping up, wet-nosed, eagerly wagging --
He only stopped being a nuisance
When you were alone together
Pretending to be doing your homework
But really gazing at each other
Through hot and hazy daydreams
Of those beautiful schoolgirls on the bus
With kittens bouncing in their sweaters.
The Romance of Rex
[A Tale of a Pedigreed Piddlin' Pup in Ten Piddles and a Puddle]
Piddle No. 1
A farmer's dog came into town,
His Christian name was Rex,
A noble pedigree had he
Unusual was his text.
And as he trotted down the street
T'was beautiful to see
His work on every corner --
His work on every tree.
Piddle No. 2
He watered every gateway too,
And never missed a post
For piddling was his specialty
And piddling was his boast.
The City Curs looked on amazed
With deep and jealous rage
To see a simple country dog
The piddler of the age.
Piddle No. 3
Then all the dogs from everywhere
Were summoned with a yell,
To sniff the country stranger o'er
And judge him by the smell.
Some thought that he a king might be
Beneath his tail a rose,
So every dog drew near to him
And sniffed it up his nose.
Piddle No. 4
They smelled him over one by one
They smelled him two by two
And noble Rex, in high disdain,
Stood still till they were thru.
Then just to show the whole shebang
He didn't give a dam
He trotted in a grocery store
And piddled on a ham.
He piddled in a mackerel keg --
He piddled on the floor,
And when the grocer kicked him out
He piddled through the door.
Behind him all the city dogs
Lined up with instinct true
To start a piddling carnival
And see the stranger through.
Piddle No. 6
They showed him every piddling post
The had in all the town,
And started in with many a wink
To pee the stranger down.
They sent for champion piddlers
Who were always on the go,
Who sometimes did a piddling stunt
Or gave a piddle show.
Piddle No. 7
They sprung these on him suddenly
When midway in the town;
Rex only smiled and polished off
The ablest, white or brown.
For Rex was with them every trick
With vigor and with vim
A thousand piddles more or less
Were all the same to him.
Piddle No. 8
So he was wetting merrily
With hind leg kicking high,
When most were hoisting legs in bluff
And piddling mighty dry,
On and on, Rex sought new grounds
By piles and scraps and rust;
Till every city dog went dry
And piddled only dust.
Piddle No. 9
But on and on went noble Rex
As wet as any rill,
And all the champion city pups
Were pee'd to a standstill.
The Rex did free-hand piddling
With fancy flirts and flits
Like "double dip" and gimlet twist"
And all those latest hits.
Piddle No. 10
And all the time this country dog
Did never wink or grin,
But piddled blythely out of town
As he had piddled in.
The city dogs conventions held
To ask "What did defeat us?"
But no one ever put them wise
That Rex had diabetes.
Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire and succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850. He wrote some of his poems in the mid-Lincolnshire dialect, taking great care to reproduce it accurately.
In 1889 he published, as part of a collection entitled Demeter and Other Poems, a poem called Owd Roa, or Old Rover. It was based on a newspaper story of a child saved from a burning house by a black retriever and begins;
Naay, noa mander o' use to be callin' 'im Roa, Roa, Roa,
Fur the dog's stoan deaf, an' e's blind, 'e can naither stan' nor goa.
But I means fur to maake 'is owd aage as 'appy as iver I can,
Fur I owas owd Roaver moor nor I iver owad mottal man.
Thou's rode of 'is back when a babby, afoor thou was gotten too owd,
Fur 'e'd fetch an' carry like owt, 'e was allus as good as gowd.
Eh, but 'e'd fight wi' a will when 'e fowt; 'e could howd 'is oan,
An Roa was the dog as knaw'd when an' wheere to bury his boane.
The New York Public Library has not heard of Tessimond. My search came up big NADA. I suppose his books are out of print. And we here are out of luck.
To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now
"I write poems for a stranger who will be born in some distant country hundreds of years from now." - Mary Oliver
Nobody here likes a wet dog.
No one wants anything to do with a dog
that is wet from being out in the rain
or retrieving a stick from a lake.
Look how she wanders around the crowded pub tonight
going from one person to another
hoping for a pat on the head, a rub behind the ears,
something that could be given with one hand
without even wrinkling the conversation.
But everyone pushes her away,
some with a knee, others with the sole of a boot.
Even the children, who don't realize she is wet
until they go to pet her,
push her away
then wipe their hands on their clothes.
And whenever she heads toward me,
I show her my palm, and she turns aside.
O stranger of the future!
O inconceivable being!
whatever the shape of your house,
however you scoot from place to place,
no matter how strange and colorless the clothes you may wear,
I bet nobody there likes a wet dog either.
I bet everyone in your pub,
even the children, pushes her away.
-- Billy Collins
P.S. Jody, you're right: Tessimond is out of print. I have all his poems here with me, if there's anything specific you need.
I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Byron's epitaph on Boatswain. Google it.
And go here for Boatswain's reply: