For Stephen and other self-confessed cat-loving contributors to Emule, here's something you might enjoy, which I don't think has been on Emule before:
Hamlet’s Cat’s Soliloquy
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 re-admittance 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-practised 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 neighbour’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.
I wonder who the real author is, behind the witty pseudonym. Some English academic is my guess, or maybe the late Stanley J Sharpless, winner of many New Statesman literary competitions.
This is the best Shakespeare parody I've come across. Does anyone know a better?
Incidentally, I live with two dogs who clearly assume they have a mission to ensure that no cat sets paw in our garden. So I find it difficult to imagine living in a household with umpteen cats. Those like Stephen who manage to do so harmoniously have my bewildered admiration.
Lovely, Ian. The author is Henry Beard, and it's from his Poetry for Cats.
Here's another of his:
Treed, by Joyce Kilmer's cat.
I think that I shall never see
A poem nifty as a tree.
A tree whose rugged trunk seems meant
To speed a happy cat's ascent;
A tree that laughs at dogs all day
And serves up baby birds for prey;
A tree whose limbs are in the sky
Where clandestinely I can spy;
Until it does upon me dawn
It is a mile down to the lawn.
Poems are made by cats like me,
But only you can get me off this goddamn stupid tree.
I love that! Thanks, IanB! I have a new appreciation for Shakespeare...er Shakespaw. Thanks for sharing that!
Bump for Stephen and Talia.
After too much delay I have at last acquired a copy of Henry Beard's brilliant little book 'Poetry for Cats'. What a delight! The ideal gift for anyone who loves both cats and poetry. Thanks, Stephen, for putting me on to it.
'Abyssinias' by Percy Bysshe Shelley's Cat.
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: A huge four-footed limestone form
Sits in the desert, sinking in the sand.
Its whiskered face, though marred by wind and storm,
Still flaunts the dainty ears, the collar band
And feline traits the sculptor well portrayed:
The bearing of a born aristocrat,
The stubborn will no mortal can dissuade.
And on its base, in long-dead alphabets,
These words are set: "Reward for missing cat!
His name is Abyssinias, pet of pets;
I, Ozymandias, will a fortune pay
For his return. He heard me speak of vets--
O foolish King! And so he ran away."
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
Towards 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 wierd 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 -
While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up,
Then I crouched and quickly lept 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 and 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.
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!