2010 Poetry Theme Challenges
#04 Feline Fiesta
Jem has been catnapped and I, Vladimir, am taking over her computer and this challenge. There are numerous
poems on birds, flowers and dogs but relatively few about cats. I find this outrageous, why are you humans not
writing about us? Is it because we are so self-sufficent and independent that you cannot identify with us?
So a purrfect challenge for you, poems about the most wonderful species, 'The Cat'.
I will be watching!
Vladimir the Impatient
Vladimir's Favourite Sonnet
Will you please stop bringing me rats
- I have no earthly use for them, dead or aallive!
the smell just makes me heave and pant,
the carcass only attracts ants...
Stupid cat, if you must bring me treats
please remember I'm a vegetarian
and bring me something without meat:
a pumpkin curry perhaps,
with roti and dahl,
or a tasty fruit tart, flavoured with cloves
- not some old rat dug up from its hole,
and listening to the gramophone...
O wretched cat:
you are banned for the evening
- I don't want your half-digested leavings!!<
O simple human can’t you understand
That I am bored with tuna every day
And when I try to vary my menu
You behave in a most peculiar way.
It took me quite a while to catch that mouse,
And just to offer you your due respect
I brought it willingly up to your door
So you could scrutinize it and select
Whichever part of it that you might like
To retain for yourself, perhaps to taste
But in fashion typical of your race
You threw it out and now its gone to waste!
You’ve hurt my feelings more than you can know
I was sharing a very special treat
Hoping that you might come to understand
It’s good sometimes to eat freshly caught meat.
Vile creature, spare me your philosophical sophistries,
your attempt at ingratiation simply attracts lizards and fleas
- you only deign to wake to yawn
then sleep all day from dusk to dawn
and then from dawn to dusk! Oh, I have you sussed,
you orange freeloader, migrating from house to house
in search of tasty tidbits to fuel your lazy ways,
a fish-head here, a chicken wing there,
thus you spend your profitless days
growing fatter every hour - ah, but soon
it will be New year's Eve and then you'll cower,
hiding for two days at least
from the fireworks released,
revealed for the worthless wretch that you are
beneath all the explosive stars
and Chinese fire-crackers!
Biscuits and water, my new resolution
unless you change your feckless ways;
you've had it too cushy, too easy and peasy,
spending your life in an idyllic haze...
O Shameless man, devoid of gratitude
You can be sure that you will never see
The plump green lizard head I've tucked away
Or the pigeon that once cooed in the tree.
It's true that I go visiting at times
Hoping that I'll be fed with something new
Though it would seem even that exercise
For some reason finds no favour with you.
And whilst it may be true cats adore fish,
Enjoy it more than any other food,
Variety's the spice of life you know
And baby rodents really do taste good!
And now you've called me fat you awful man,
I won't be purring on your lap again,
And when Old Year's Night comes I'll be someplace
Where I am not regarded with disdain!"
Oh thy sacred feline from Egyptian past
A spiritual symbol of the Goddess Bast,
Mythology, worshipped from ancient lore,
Enbalmed in a tomb now, and forever more
And centurys on. when this time has passed,
Thou art perfectly preserved within thy cast.
Oh thy sacred feline from Egyptian past,
Thy art much respected as time doth pass,
Times gone by thy were depicted a lynx,
Crafted on ancient statues of sphinx.
Felines Thro` the years changed in contrast.
Thou are perfectly preserved within thy cast.
The Sorcerers Cat
Black as night is the cat of the witch.
Shades of jaded green eyes.
Retracted her claws, without a cause
As she awaits her sourcerers cries.
Spirits she shared with heart and soul,
Developing her ritual flair,
Without a cause, retracted her claws,
Warning to victims, she will impare.
Black as the night with no moon or stars,
Black as her robed enchanter,
Retracted her claws, without a cause.
Black shines the coat of a panther.
Whisps of Whispers
I`m all alone for my mother she has gone
To hunt for dinner, said she wont be long
When I grow I shall hunt for food instead
Then I wont have to wait long to be fed,
Hope she is safe, and she is not lifelong
I`m all alone for my mother she has gone.
I`m all alone for my mother she has gone,
With a purrfect pitch I roar my tiger song
For I do get up to mischief when she`out
I am only a cub and just learning about,
The difference between right from wrong
I am all alone,for my mother she has gone.
I`m all alone for my mother she has gone
For I`m her cub and know that I belong
But sometimes she can be rather fussy,
For I`m really only her mischievous pussy,
One day soon. I will certainly grow strong,
I`m all alone, for my mother she has gone.
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My witch's familiar, a wise cat
Of magic's ways, no pet is he tonight
My partner, confident, he's all of that.
As by my side, he stands within the light.
My guardian when darkness comes in sight
A gift is he from gods to keep me free
From all the deathly works of evil sprites,
Who would deter the sacred mystery
And I am surely blessed that he chose me.
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I have never met a cat who liked me
I’ve always been treated with indifference
Sometimes the bearer of a needed stroke
A provider of food, and a handy bloke
The rest of the time treated with distain
Until feeding time comes round once again.
Then it’s leg rub saying, “Get out your chair,
Feed me, feed me, see, feel how much I care”
Tail erect leads me, tells me “There my man”
And makes sure that I select the right can.
A nudge a rub tells me I fancy that’s the one
A scratch a bite says “Man pick a nutherun”
Its hard to judge all her different moods
Just like the row in Aldis pet foods.
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Like a breeze you pass by to mesmerize
With your yellow, green, blue or purple eyes,
Sometimes a wheeze is what you may give me
But I've never failed to beckon you to my knee
Because I like how fur tickles away sighs,
Like a breeze you pass by to mesmerize.
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the world is your pillow
what dreams do you dream
asleep on the blanket,
of forests and mountains
and fields of white snow
of beasts strange and deadly
and snakes that can speak
stars that come down from the dark sky at night
when all but the owls and mice are asleep,
when you are dreaming
where do you go?
what a strange mask you wear
I saw you last night
on the Heavenly Stairs
facing the world
with an insouciant stare
a wand in your paw
and a maid on your arm
and in your back pocket
a book of old charms.
The Moon winked above us
like some old gay fellow
the stars pulsed like fire-flies
all lambent and mellow;
from somewhere the sound
of violins and cellos
woke up a bull in some foggy meadow
-disgruntled it rose
to its four feet and bellowed.
I noticed your gloves were
silk and pale yellow.
A purr-fectly good evening to you,
- the last time I saw you
you were asleep on my pillow.
I called out your name
and you raised your left eye
then closed it again
and uttered a sigh.
But gentlecats ways
were ever fey things:
they don't answer letters
and pay little heed
when the telephone rings.
They prefer to relax
in a leisurely way
and when not at that
then they're sleeping all day.
I have to insist
you remove your neck
from my good writing wrist
- I'm composing a poem
to send to the Queen
and don't want you smudging
its rhymes with your dreams!
Iron Cat (In a Graveyard)
you guard the entrance to the Kingdom of Death
- not with a frown but a smile.
The milk that you drink does not come from any cow
but is gently squeezed from mortal eyes and hearts
though only fools or fear-ridden priests condemn you
for this luxury.
you purr contentedly in the golden sunlight
besides the grave of Alma Spark
a woman who revered your furry flesh and blood kin in life
and was loved by many:
human, feline and the feathered spirits of song
that inhabit the woods and the air.
mice and other little creatures do not fear you
- either in this world or the next.
Indeed, it is your duty and joy
to guide them on sublunar paths invisible to men,
bequeathing them new names fashioned from the memory
of fallen things and the lingering scents
of flowers and herbs;
instructing them in the languages of light and wind
the music of stream and rain
the hazy hieroglyphic runes cast by passing clouds
over Earth's meadows and dowdy city-scapes,
stormfronts that scud, darker more barely more tangible
over the green poetry of hills
and the rising and falling of thought...
I must bid you farewell,
tedious but inescapable tasks call me
to return to the affairs of the world.
If I do not scratch your mossy back
it is only because I know that even Kings have broken their nails
trying to make themselves overly familiar with you
whilst philosophers squander a lifetime's reserve of wisdom
whispering vain entreaties in your finely moulded ear.
Yet this at least I know:
your smile will follow me through the dusty streets
this afternoon and all my days to come
until that fated hour arrives
when you snap the silver thread between us
and bestow on me a playful name
that I might scamper joyfully too
with little mice and the souls of dead children
between the gentle paws of Death.
The Lord of Cats
The Lord of the Cats has come
with his seven grand-daughters and sons:
fifteen tails and innumerable whiskers -
and that's without counting his brothers and sisters!
The Lord of the Cats has arrived
and expects to be petted and fed -
his purrfect and feline Royal Majesty
requires to be regally pampered;
ever since the renowned Nespheth dynasty
his ancestors have sauntered and simpered
wherever they please,
and men bent their knees
in the Pharaoh Cat's High Principality!
Take care not to incur His displeasure
by deigning not to indulge his least pleasure -
a swift motion of paw
and unvelvetted claws
will punish you measure for measure.
The Lord of the Cats is aggrieved
and refuses my lap and two knees -
he fails to respond to enticement or song
and makes known his desire to leave…
The Lord of the Cats is a bore -
he makes no soft purr, but he snores!
He leaves small dead things,
plucked of innards and wings
in a putrefied state at my door!
A cat is the King of the World,
whether upright or fast asleep curled -
he commands due attention,
but please do not mention,
the day he was picked up and hurled.
The Lord of the Cats has come
with his innumerable daughters and sons;
with invisible stealth on tin roofs
they move with a lightness of whiskers -
a delicate blur, a haze in the air,
so swift that they never get blisters.
The Lord of the Cats has absconded.
No doubt - he has definitely wandered -
but wherever he roams he's not without homes
- and a saucer of milk is expected!
Orange Tom, with a tame mouse upon his shoulder: pirate cat, favoured by the ladies, feared throughout the Indies, the nine-lived scourge of the South China Seas - even Barbarossa quailed at sight of his unsheathed claws whilst cowardly Bluebeard snuggled beneath his blankets nursing a bottle of rum and bolted his cabin door when Orange Tom hoisted his grinning Fish-head pennant aloft and set sail from his native shore bent on pillage and plunder.
Dusky maidens from Spaigne to South America, cinnamon-scented princesses from Hindoostan and Jamaica queued to serve in Old Tom's bed or loiter in his rigging - no crow's nest for Tom but a comfortable basket for two bobbing between the stars, his telescope at hand to show his latest conquest the Mouse Meadows of Venus and the old canals of Mars.
But one day Old Tom got too cocky, sauntering in Bristol Town, showing off his new feathered cap and sequin-studded gown and the Aldermen of that salty seaport hired fearsome ruffians, led by One-Eyed Jake, a half-Burmese sea-cat Tom had once had whipped many years ago, as his Second-Mate for stealing half a plug of shag and two tins of sardines. Jake had walked the trembling plank into the aquamarine... but, rescued by mermaids and a passing cat-fish or two he'd laid low off Bermuda awhile, wearing garish shirts and nurturing his revenge and struck now at our heroes heart for two large bags of silver and all the fish he could eat, served on a pewter platter.
Oh what weeping and caterwauling from Spaigne to South America - a surfeit of fair ladies tears swelled the seven seas from Hindoostan to Cuba and although One-Eyed Jake assumed the captaincy of Orange Tom's ship (The Whiskered Cavalier) his bed was always empty for all Tom's ladies were true of heart be they four-legged or two, human-kind or furry...
Violet Cat of Rhydymynn
Violet cat of Rhydymynn
where have you been wandering?
Inbetween the snowdrop trees
on the tightrope of the breeze.
Over Gambol-towns tin roofs
listening to lies and truths
gazing in at ale-glass windows
peering at peccadillos,
scratching at the thin glass surface
at the High street butcher's dreams
listening to old Miss Thistle
where she lies in bed and screams
watching spiders spin their webs
in cold dank cellars and garden sheds
where men stand hunched o'er grinding wheels
sharpening axe or blade of steel.
I sat for a while by baby Tulips bed
unravelling a long gold thread.
I scratched my paws upon the door
that leads to long lost Eldamor.
I chased twelve mice for seven leagues
and fought with a large black tom,
I looked for tasty fish in the village pond of Memory
but was chased by a white swan.
I counted the stars that fell from Jupiters beard
and rubbed against the Lady's leg,
I sniffed the trails of seven mythological beasts
leading from the Library
and watched the Great Gray Owl of Radnor Wood
hunting ecclesiastical mice in the grounds
of the old abandoned monastery.
I gave chase to a mischievous moonbeam
that dared to tweak my tail
and played with two kittens I found in a sack
by the river.
I chewed two leaves of catnip and toyed with
a slightly mad toad
I ate two beetles and a fieldmouse
and nearly got run over crossing the town's
All in all it was quite an uneventful night
and now I'm tired and ready to sleep,
just as soon as I've licked my lips clean
of sardines and tuna washed down with cream
in the pantry of Sophie, who washes and cleans
for fat Mrs. Spindle who once met the Queen
and hates violet cats with a resolute passion
usually reserved for demimondes of high fashion
- I still bear the scar for a well-aimed sttiiletto
for tripping her once on the stairs
and being quite sick one hot afternoon
on two of her favourite furs.
But Sophie is a lovely girl
and easy to cajole
and doesn't mind me playing tag
with her old silk stole.
But now the busy burghers of Rhydymynn
have risen from their beds
and gazing from their bedroom windows,
dressed in vests and pants
watch me saunter down their streets
and look at me askance.
"What a peculiarly coloured cat!" they say
"It bodes not well for business...
we must have words of a censorious kind
with its Master or Mistress!"
Pish! Tosh! Fiddle-de-fee and tingle
- they'll get no word of me from Sophie
> or joy from sour Ms.Spindle.
Let them discuss me at their Weekly Committee
and pass a resolution:
I am the violet cat of Rhydymynn
and this is my constitution
- I'll take it every night and grin up at tthheir faces
or maybe leave a calling card of aromatic faeces
next to their prize marrow patch
and listen to their wives shrill screams
going through the paces.
But now the sun is far too hot o'er rustic Gambol-town
and I will seek my favourite place behind Ms.Spindles gowns
- tonight I have a tryst to keep out in thee sweet pea fields
and men might hear what pleasent chords a violet throat might yield
and should some wastrel hear that song and follow where it leads
mayhap he'll catch a sight of me between the snowdrop trees
where I woo the Cat of Dreams on the tightrope of the breeze.
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