‘I meant,’ said Ipslore bitterly, ‘what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?’ Death thought about it. ‘Cats,’ he said eventually. ‘Cats are nice.’
— Terry Pratchett, Sourcery
Hello, poets! I hope that you aren’t taken aback by the title of today’s prompt. Do not fret in case you don’t really like cats. There is something for everyone here. Also, I hope that everyone is doing well in their respective parts of the world.
Amazon and Siberia are on fire, the state of Kashmir (which is no longer a state) is well known to many now, someone wants to buy Greenland, and Brexit looms closer: When all these things are going on, it becomes difficult to find a safe haven where one can escape from all this significant, but also upsetting, noise. Here at my hostel/college campus, I have found that the cats (which are abundant in number and perhaps the primary residents of this place) are the ones I reach out to at the end of the day.
I have always liked cats but I am seriously turning into a cat person now. Their soft fur, their sparkling eyes, their meows and purrs, and their regal manner, all make them excellent companions after a long day. I am not the only one admiring them here — many of us have named our dear residential mates.
Let’s see what some of our favourite poets have to say about cats or how they used catty metaphors in their verse,
The Cat And The Moon
by W. B. Yeats
The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.
by Margaret Atwood
Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.
Love Poem for What It Is
by Rebecca Hazelton
There’s nothing in the world that loves you
more than the space you already take up.
There’s nothing in the world that won’t
forget you faster than you forgot
the last person that stepped out from your life.
When the cat reaches up
one needled paw to drag down a book
from your desk, then another,
that’s not love—that’s dominance.
When you reach up your hand and try to wheedle
someone else’s to hold it, that’s love
dominating you. There’s no word for loving more
than you should, just the feeling of excess,
as if your tongue burst in a rash of red sequins,
as if everyone can see your stutter in the air,
staccato love you, love you, and nothing in the world
standing in that space to receive it.
Take a “paws” and then make yourself “fur-miliar” with Muier by Williams, Keats’ sonnet To Mrs. Reynolds’ Cat, Dickinson’s chuckling cat who sights a bird, and Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes by Thomas Gray.
This is Anmol (alias HA) and I welcome you all to the Tuesday Poetics at dVerse. Your prompt for today is to consider the nature, lives, times, et al. of our feline friends/enemies/gods/children. You don’t have to write about the cats if you don’t want to do that, but rather imbibe the cat-spirit in your poems. You can write about your family cats and even metaphorical cats or just use feline metaphors in your written word. You can also try out some puns and terms listed here.
Once you are done writing and publishing your poem, add the link in the widget below. Do not forget to visit others and share your comments about their verses. I will sign off with that and I will see you all on the trail. Happy Writing!