by Francis Witham
Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
Has brought you, homeless to my gate?
The gate where once another stood
To beg for shelter, warmth and food.
For from that day I ceased to be
The master of my destiny.
While he, with purr and velvet paw
Became within my house, The Law.
He scratched the furniture and shed
And claimed the middle of my bed.
He ruled in arrogance and pride
And broke my heart the day he died.
So if you really think, oh cat,
I’d willingly relive all that
Because you come, forlorn and thin
Well… don’t just stand there… come on in!
by B. Hayes
You’ve torn the daily paper
Into a million shreds
And tested the comfort
Of all the beds.
Chased my wool
All over the floor
Hissed and spat
At the dog next door,
And proved yourself
So brave and bold
For a tiny kitten
Only six weeks old.
You’re now a black
Little fluffy ball
Curled up tight
Asleep in the hall.
by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold
I am the cat.
It is not, exactly, that I have something to ask of You!
I ask nothing of anyone –
if You have by some chance, in some celestial barn,
a little white mouse,
or a saucer of milk,
I know someone who would relish them.
Wouldn’t You like someday
to put a curse on the whole race of dogs?
If so I should say,
It’s hard to explain why some particular passage sticks with you, but I’ve always found this fragment from William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence impossibly haunting.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to endless night
by Lorna Crozier
The white cat with sapphire eyes
can’t be colour blind
must see the world
Blue horses, blue light spilling
from the window, blue willows,
carrying bowls of bluish cream.
How beautiful I feel
all blue – shoulders, feet and hair,
the brilliant air,
between the moon and the white cat
sleeping under the apple tree
(the apples cold and blue)
will be the precise colour
of the cat’s dreams of rain.
You never feed me.
Perhaps I’ll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.
The rule for today:
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.
I fought for hours. Come and see!
What’s a ‘term paper?’
Wanna go outside.
Oh, poop! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!
Litter box not here.
You must have moved it again.
I’ll go in the sink.
Want to trim my claws?
Don’t even think about it!
My cries will wake dead.
I read out this extract from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet during my speech at my sister’s wedding – I was looking for a wedding-appropriate poem that a) didn’t make me vomit and b) expressed something I personally believed in. I think it puts a very practical advice on the need of space in relationships in a very beautiful way:
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
by Paul Gallico, on behalf of cats everywhere
This is my chair.
Go away and sit somewhere else.
This one is all my own.
It is the only thing in your house that I possess
And insist upon possessing.
Everything else therein in yours.
My scratching post and my Ping-Pong ball;
You provided them for me.
This chair I selected for myself.
I like it,
It suits me.
You have the sofa,
The stuffed chair
And the footstool.
I don’t go and sit on them do I?
Then why cannot you leave me mine,
And let us have no further argument?