Why a Cheshire Cat Grins
by Susan Beall Summers

The Duchess finds morality
in every story she hears and spins.
Her habits do not interest me,
or my characteristic grins.
There’s no judgement from me, you see,
We’re all mad here anyway.
I’ve seen children turn into pigs
when they’re treated a bad way.
I always try to stay ahead
while people play their games
or risk losing my head
because they’re quite insane.
When you’re a Cheshire cat,
there is no dull reality.
and that’s why I wear a smile,
I’m free from cruel duality.

ILLUSTRATION: “The Cheshire Cat” by John Tenniel from The Nursery Alice (1890).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As a child, I had two great loves: cats and my wild imagination. It was easy for me to fall down the rabbit hole and enter Wonderland. I never cared for Alice and felt the whole experience was wasted on her chasing that frenetic rabbit, but loved the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, The Hatter, and many of the other characters in the story. Cheshire cat is just one cool cat. He doesn’t get flustered over anything, listens, is a keen observer, and can appear and disappear at will. I’d like to be like him and I always wanted him to have a larger part in the story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Beall Summers has been writing poetry from a young age and has published a collection of her poetry, Friends, Sins & Possibilities. She is active in the poetry community around Austin including Austin Poets International, Austin Poetry Society, Writer’s League of Texas, and regularly attends several open mics. She has been published in Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku and Haiga, Harbinger Asylum, Small Canyons & Anthology, Baylor’s Beall House of Poetry, AIPF’s Di-Verse-City, and others.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me dressed as a Cheshire Cat for a Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.