Under the "Dogs" thread, we've had some good cat poems. So as not to confuse future emule generations, I thought I'd start this thread to contain more purrfect examples. [I had to do the purrfect joke; it's compulsory; and yes, I hate myself for it. OK?]
The End of the Raven
by Edgar Allen Poe’s Cat
On a night quite unenchanting,
when the rain was downward slanting,
I awakened to the ranting
of the man I catch mice for.
Tipsy and a bit unshaven,
in a tone I found quite craven,
Poe was talking to a Raven
perched above the chamber door.
“Raven’s very tasty,” thought I, as I tiptoed o’er the floor.
“There is nothing I like more.”
Soft upon the rug I treaded,
calm and careful as I headed
Toward his roost atop that dreaded
bust of Pallas I deplore.
While the bard and birdie chattered,
I made sure that nothing clattered
Creaked, or snapped, or fell, or shattered,
as I crossed the corridor,
For his house is crammed with trinkets, curios and weird decor --
Bric-a-brac and junk galore.
Still the Raven never fluttered,
standing stock-still as he uttered,
In a voice that shrieked and sputtered,
his two cents’ worth -- “Nevermore.”
While this dirge the birdbrain kept up,
oh, so silently I crept up,
Then I crouched and quickly leapt up,
pouncing on the feathered bore.
Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore --
Only this and not much more.
“Oooo!” my pickled poet cried out,
“Pussycat, it’s time I dried out!
Never sat I in my hideout
talking to a bird before;
How I’ve wallowed in self-pity,
while my gallant, valiant kitty
Put an end to that damned ditty” --
then I heard him start to snore.
Back atop the door I clambered, eyed that statue I abhor,
Jumped -- and smashed it on the floor.
'I treaded'? Tut tut Stephen, and you got on my case for a misplaced 'stress'. Please post this on the other forum, as I think they would rather enjoy it, and not everyone makes their way over here. The first two lines of the last stanza just cracked me up, I could hear the 'Oooo!', reminded me of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar according to Brother Dave. JP
Not guilty - I stole this.
Keep stealing, then, I love parodies like this one - I'll even forgive you the joke!
This one's especially for you, then.
She Walks In Booties
By George Gordon, Lord Byron's Cat.
She walks in booties, like a sprite
With pixie feet and fairy toes;
Her paws on ice will ne'er alight
Nor feel the chill of frigid snows;
And all the rays of winter's light
Shine on her collar's satin bows.
And from her soft enchanted fur
Exudes the scent of sweet shampoo
And precious oils distilled from myrrh
That give her fur its magic hue:
I long to hear her charming purr,
And share the music of her mew.
But as I watch her take the air,
My spellbound vision starts to fade;
I feel at once a dark despair;
My feline heart is sore dismay'd;
For not content to make her fair,
Her doting owners had her spay'd!
Stephen, the first four words alone are worth reading every thread in the whole forum!
I must must must share this with my cat people.
Lovely - thanks so much!
This is for those who are not besotted by cats, and who don't understand those of us who are.
A Case Of Murder
They should not have left him there alone,
Alone that is except for the cat.
He was only nine, not old enough
To be left alone in a basement flat,
Alone, that is, except for the cat.
A dog would have been a different thing,
A big gruff dog with slashing jaws,
But a cat with round eyes mad as gold,
Plump as a cushion with tucked-in paws---
Better have left him with a fair-sized rat!
But what they did was leave him with a cat.
He hated that cat; he watched it sit,
A buzzing machine of soft black stuff,
He sat and watched and he hated it,
Snug in its fur, hot blood in a muff,
And its mad gold stare and the way it sat
Crooning dark warmth: he loathed all that.
So he took Daddy's stick and he hit the cat.
Then quick as a sudden crack in glass
It hissed, black flash, to a hiding place
In the dust and dark beneath the couch,
And he followed the grin on his new-made face,
A wide-eyed, frightened snarl of a grin,
And he took the stick and he thrust it in,
Hard and quick in the furry dark.
The black fur squealed and he felt his skin
Prickle with sparks of dry delight.
Then the cat again came into sight,
Shot for the door that wasn't quite shut,
But the boy, quick too, slammed fast the door:
The cat, half-through, was cracked like a nut
And the soft black thud was dumped on the floor.
Then the boy was suddenly terrified
And he bit his knuckles and cried and cried;
But he had to do something with the dead thing there.
His eyes squeezed beads of salty prayer
But the wound of fear gaped wide and raw;
He dared not touch the thing with his hands
So he fetched a spade and shovelled it
And dumped the load of heavy fur
In the spidery cupboard under the stair
Where it's been for years, and though it died
It's grown in that cupboard and its hot low purr
Grows slowly louder year by year:
There'll not be a corner for the boy to hide
When the cupboard swells and all sides split
And the huge black cat pads out of it.
And a future serial killer is born.
I can understand cruelty to our fellow man, but I have always despised cruelty to animals.
I understand JP's post on the Submitted forum much better now, and I have to say that I concur!
I much prefer D. H. Lawrence, "The Snake." At least it contains an element of remorse.
OK, this should kiss you girls better ......
Advice to Women
if you want to learn to cope with
the otherness of lovers.
Otherness is not always neglect --
Cats return to their litter trays
when they need to.
Don't cuss out of the window
at their enemies.
That stare of perpetual surprise
in those great green eyes
will teach you
to die alone.
-- Eunice de Souza
The cats that live in our house 'cuss out the window at their enemies' all day. I make sure the bird feeder is filled every morning, and they make their idle, impotent threats in that language all cat people understand.
hmmmm I can't decide which I like better...the image of a dead cat stuffed in the cupboard or the idea of dying alone.
sniff...I feel better now.
With cats you won't die alone, because they won't get off the bed!
Tell me about it. My 16 lb. one (Jake) would probably eat my ears off. I can just see the headlines now..........
Fred got up to a whopping 24 lbs. (almost 12 kilos) and still insisted on "escaping" whenever the door opened. He ended up as coyote spraint.
It's remarkable how that word fits into everyday conversation!
Pam, the eternal optimist, assumes she will die in bed.
Cat, if you go outdoors, you must walk in the snow.
You will come back with little white shoes on your feet,
little white shoes of snow that have heels of sleet.
Stay by the fire, my Cat. Lie still, do not go.
See how the flames are leaping and hissing low,
I will bring you a saucer of milk like a marguerite,
so white and so smooth, so spherical and so sweet -
stay with me, Cat. Outdoors the wild winds blow.
Outdoors the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night,
strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore,
and more than cats move, lit by our eyes green light,
on silent feet where the meadow grasses hang hoar -
Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might,
and things that are yet to be done. Open the door!
-- Elizabeth Coatsworth
I have a magnet on my fridge that translated says:
"People that don't like cats, must have been mice in their previous life."
I love this thread, thanks!
Here's a pressy, Desi -
Hair Today, No Her Tomorrow
by Brian Patten
'I've been upstairs,' she said.
'Oh yes?' I said.
'I found a hair,' she said.
'A hair?' I said.
'In the bed,' she said.
'From a head?' I said.
'It's not mine,' she said.
'Was it black?' I said.
'It was,' she said.
'I'll explain,' I said.
'You swine,' she said.
'Not quite,' I said.
'I'm going,' she said.
'Please don't,' I said.
'I hate you!' she said.
'You do?' I said.
'Of course,' she said.
'But why?' I said.
'That black hair,' she said.
'A pity,' I said.
'Time for truth,' she said.
'For confessions?' I said.
'Me too,' she said.
'You what?' I said.
'Someone else,' she said.
'Oh dear,' I said.
'So there!' she said.
'Ah well,' I said.
'Guess who?' she said.
'Don't say,' I said.
'I will,' she said.
'You would,' I said.
'Your friend,' she said.
'Oh damn,' I said.
'And his friend,' she said.
'Him too?' I said.
'And the rest,' she said.
'Good God,' I said.
'What's that?' she said.
'What's what?' I said.
'That noise?' she said.
'Upstairs?' I said.
'Yes,' she said.
'The new cat,' I said.
'A cat?' she said.
'It's black,' I said.
'Black?' she said.
'Long-haired,' I said.
'Oh no,' she said.
'Oh yes,' I said.
'Oh @!#$!' she said.
'Goodbye,' I said.
'I lied,' she said.
'You lied?' I said.
'Of course,' she said.
'About my friend?' I said.
'Y-ess,' she said.
'And the others?' I said.
'Ugh,' she said.
'How odd,' I said.
'I'm forgiven?' she said.
'Of course,' I said.
'I'll stay?' she said.
'Please don't,' I said.
'But why?' she said.
'I lied,' I said.
'About what?' she said.
'The new cat,' I said.
'It's white,' I said.
and probably with a book in my hand.
You peeps are totally talented, and utterly amazing, and not only that, you surely know cats well! I found the poetry to be refreshing, entertaining and so par for the course regarding cats, and their behavior....I am a fan, from this day out, thank you for bringing me humor, and amusement, and will now remove my tongue from my cheek... Very nice job! Thanks again,
Katie from Nebraska
The Naming of Cats
T. S. Eliot
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum--
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
This tomcat cuts across the
zones of the respectable
through fences, walls, following
other routes, his own. I see
the sad whiskered skull-mouth fall
wide, complainingly, asking
to be picked up and fed, when
I thump up the steps through bush
at 4 p.m. He has no
dignity, thank God! has grown
older, scruffier, the ash-
black coat sporting one or two
flowers like round stars, badges
of bouts and fights. The snake head
is seamed on top with rough scars:
old Samurai! He lodges
in cellars, and the tight furred
scrotum driveds him into wars
as if mad, yet tumbling on
the rug looks female, Turkish-
trousered. His bagpipe shreik at
sluggish dawn dragged me out in
pyjamas to comb the bush
(he being under the vet
for septic bites): the old fool
stood, body hard as a board,
heart thudding, hair on end, at
the house corner, terrible,
yelling at something. They said,
'Get him doctored.' I think not.
Forgot the author: James K Baxter
Time for another?
CAT PUKE AND FLIES POEM
I feed Marcello a can of Liver and Chicken.
He bolts it down too fast, as usual.
Two minutes later he throws up
on the back patio.
The first fly shows up within seconds,
ecstatic over life's bounty.
Within minutes, the word's out
somehow, the brothers and sisters
coming in fast.
The sun creeps along the cement floor.
Pretty soon, half the cat puke is in light,
the other in shadow, like sunrise
on a volcanic island.
At least thirty flies have gathered by now,
walking around and eating
what they're walking around on.
I move in closer.
Such organization and grace--
no fuss, no fighting. There's obviously always
enough for everyone in the fly world.
And plenty of time to get off a quickie
with your neighbor.
I'm now on my hands and knees,
my face within inches
of the calm feeding of at least fifty flies
(give or take arrivals and departures).
None seem to notice me,
the sun glinting off their emerald thoraxes
and through their purple wings.
It's come round to catpoemposting time again:
The Blue Bowl
Like primitives we buried the cat
with his bowl. Bare-handed
we scraped sand and gravel
back into the hole.
They fell with a hiss
and thud on his side,
on his long red fur, the white feathers
between his toes, and his
long, not to say aquiline, nose.
We stood and brushed each other off.
There are sorrows keener than these.
Silent the rest of the day, we worked,
ate, stared, and slept. It stormed
all night; now it clears, and a robin
burbles from a dripping bush
like the neighbor who means well
but always says the wrong thing.
Love this last one.
Loved them all and if I may, I would like to share a story that describes the lengths of stupidity in which my sweet little kitty lives: she was on the unmade bed, in the center. I was attempting to make the bed, pulling the covers into their repective corners. The cat, of course, who thinks she is the only worthy living creaturre on earth begins to grab at my hands as they are working. She likes to distract me and get some attention at every opportunity. However, one of her back paws began to attack her! She began to chase it, bite it, then she got so flustered with her own foot, that she hissed at it! The grand finale of this sotry is that in her sommersaults of fury she rolled right off the bed and ran away from her own foot!
On Cat Ageing by Sir Alexander Gray
He blinks upon the hearth- rug
And yawns in deep content,
Accepting all the comforts
That Providence has sent.
Louder he purrs and louder,
In one glad hymn of praise
For all the night's adventures,
For quiet, restful days.
Life will go on forever
With all that cat can wish;
Warmth, and glad procession
Of fish and milk and fish.
Only--the thought disturbs him--
He's noticed once or twice,
That times are somehow breeding
A nimbler race of mice.
What do cats remember of days?
They remember the ways in from the cold,
the warmest spot, the place of food.
They remember the places of pain, their enemies,
the irritation of birds, the warm fumes of soil,
the usefulness of dust.
They remember the creak of a bed, the sound
of their owners footsteps,
the taste of fish,the lovliness of cream.
Cats remember what is essential of days.
Letting all other memories go as of no worth
they sleep sounder than we.
Whose hearts break remembering so many
"My Cat Jeoffry" by Christopher Smart (born 1722)
from Jubilate Agno (Rejoice in the Lamb)
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance on the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times around with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats and the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of the defense is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord's poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually -- Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
Ode On The Death Of A Favourite Cat Drowned In A Tub Of Goldfishes
by Thomas Gray
'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dy'd
The azure flow'rs that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclin'd,
Gazed on the lake below.
Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
She saw: and purr'd applause.
Still had she gaz'd; but 'midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream;
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
Thro' richest purple to the view
Betray'd a golden gleam.
The hapless Nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize.
What female heart can gold despise?
What cat's averse to fish?
Presumptuous Maid! with looks intent
Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between.
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smil'd)
The slipp'ry verge her feet beguil'd,
She tumbled headlong in.
Eight times emerging from the flood
She mew'd to ev'ry wat'ry god,
Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
A Fav'rite has no friend!
From hence, ye Beauties, undeceiv'd,
Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,
And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
And heedless hearts is lawful prize,
Nor all, that glisters, gold.
Two recent writers: Gavin Ewart wrote several poems about his cats.
John Heath-Stubbs: Cats' Parnassus. a pamphlet about literary cats published a few years ago.