Archives for posts with tag: cats

Harsham
Moving with a Siamese Cat
by Brenda Davis Harsham

There is no agony more sublime
than moving with a Siamese cat,
yowling, howling in his box
for hours on end
until any end seems
more appealing
than continuing.
He refuses food,
refuses water,
and stares at me with
enormous freaked-out eyes,
ears back in his I’ll-Get-You look
with fangs bared.
When I release him in a motel,
my nerves are shot, I put out
food and water before I
eat myself, but it’s no good.
Merrrr-Owww-Owww.
All night.
Without stop.
Sniffing every corner,
stalking every shadow,
walking along mirror tops,
falling into the tub,
all while giving
an unearthly howl
of betrayal, rage, bewilderment
spiced with promises
of revenge.
If a cat could file for divorce,
moving two days
from home in a U-Haul
would be under
mental cruelty
and irreconcilable differences
combined.
Why did no one mention
drugs
before I told this story?

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken in 1994, long after my cat had forgiven me for torturing him.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem required time travel to 1991, way back to a few of the darkest days of my 18-year love affair with a Siamese cat I miss dearly.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brenda Davis Harsham lives in New England. She’s been a McDonald’s cashier, graphic artist, editor, lawyer and writing teacher. When she isn’t writing, she snaps photographs, makes art, invents recipes and reads to her kids. Her poetry and prose has been published in on-line literary venues, including Silver Birch Press. A poem is forthcoming in the Best of Today’s Little Ditty Anthology.

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love the child
by Lindi-Ann Hewitt-Coleman

my eyes were so big
they swallowed the world
in all its dew spangled beauty
and bone shattered pain

my eyes were so big
they swallowed the ocean
and the mermaid and the starfish
and the deep breath whale
swam inside me

my eyes were so big
i did not have a face
or a body or
wild witch hair
where my cat
black as night
hid velvet paws
around my neck.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: I grew up on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. I befriended this feral cat who lived on the vacant farmland next door. Much to my delight, she returned the friendship by jumping through my window one night and birthing four kittens on my bed. This picture was taken in 1973.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindi-Ann Hewitt-Coleman lives on a very small farm on the edge of a very large forest in Wilderness, South Africa. Besides being a mother and writer, she raises Angora goats and spins wool. She has published two collections of poetry blue sky and other poems (2011) and holy ground (2014).

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MY CATS
by Charles Bukowski

I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
needs and
concerns.

but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so
much.

they complain but never
worry,
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can’t
understand.

their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
a day
without
hesitation or
remorse.

when I am feeling
low
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my
courage
returns.

I study these
creatures.

they are my
teachers.

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WHITE JAGUAR
by Tara Andrews

A white jaguar
is in the back seat
of a sedan
its head out the window.
The car is not moving.
The cat stares, seems
puzzled as if looking
for something it
expected to find.

The colors are saturated
as in a Kodachrome slide.
The image is like a joke postcard,
something with a silly caption:
Beware of back seat drivers.

But this is no joke.
It means something.
I see this when
I close my eyes.
The cat is there
watching, waiting
looking for something,
its head out the
window.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tara Andrews has lived many lives — as playwright, children’s book author, and standup comedian — and is currently working on a poetry chapbook called The History of Gum.

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THE ADDRESSING OF CATS
by T.S. Eliot

You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are same and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse–
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
But how would you address a Cat?

So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.

And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste–
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.

So this is this, and that is that:
And there’s how you ADDRESS A CAT.

PAINTING: “Blue Cat, Green Eyes” by Walasse Ting

Beautiful reading of “The Naming of Cats” by the poet.

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THE NAMING OF CATS
by 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 Munkstrap, 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
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

(From Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, poems by T.S. Eliot)

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“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.” E.B. WHITE, Author of Charlotte’s Web

PHOTO: “Harpo Hiding” by Bridget Zinn, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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BONES AND SHADOWS
by John Philip Johnson

She kept its bones in a glass case
next to the recliner in the living room,
and sometimes thought she heard
him mewing, like a faint background music;
but if she stopped to listen, it disappeared.
Likewise with a nuzzling around her calves,
she’d reach absent-mindedly to scratch him,
but her fingers found nothing but air.
One day, in the corner of her eye,
slinking by the sofa, there was a shadow.
She glanced over, expecting it to vanish.
But this time it remained.
She looked at it full on. She watched it move.
Low and angular, not quite as catlike
as one might suppose, but still, it was him.
She walked to the door, just like in the old days,
and opened it, and met a whoosh of winter air.
She waited. The bones in the glass case rattled.
Then the cat-shadow darted at her,
through her legs, and slipped outside.
It mingled with the shadows of bare branches,
and leapt at the shadow of a bird.
She looked at the tree, but there was no bird.
Then he blended into the shadow of a bush.
She stood in the threshold, her hands on the door,
the sharp breeze ruffling the faded flowers
of her house dress, and she could feel
her own bones rattling in her body,
her own shadow trying to slip out.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Philip Johnson has published poems in Rattle, Southern Poetry Review, Euphony, Ruminate, Chicago Quarterly Review, and other literary journals. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife and five children. In college, he took up poetry after reading Byron, in “Don Juan”, rhyme “nunnery” with “gunnery” and thought anybody can do this. Visit the poet at  johnphilipjohnson.com.

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MOON
by William Jay Smith

I have a white cat whose name is Moon;
He eats catfish from a wooden spoon,
And sleeps till five each afternoon.
 
Moon goes out when the moon is bright
And sycamore trees are spotted white
To sit and stare in the dead of night.
 
Beyond still water cries a loon,
Through mulberry leaves peers a wild baboon,
And in Moon’s eyes I see the moon.

SOURCE: “Moon” appears in William Jay Smith’s collection Laughing Time: Collected Nonsense (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1980).

ART: “Beauty in White” by DanceswithCats. Cards available at zazzle.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Jay Smith, age 95, served as the nineteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1968 to 1970. Born in Louisiana, and brought in Missouri, Smith received his A.B. and M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and continued his studies at Columbia University and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Smith was a poet in residence at Williams College from 1959–1967 and taught at Columbia University from 1973 until 1975. He serves as the Professor Emeritus of English literature at Hollins University. Smith is the author of ten collections of poetry, including two finalists for the National Book Award. He has been member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1975.