Fun_People Archive
9 Sep
Poetry for Cats by Cats

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue,  9 Sep 97 01:34:23 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Poetry for Cats by Cats
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Forwarded-by: Kalia Kliban <>
Forwarded-by: Jon Berger <>

	Grendel's Dog, from BEOCAT
	by the Old English Epic's Unknown Author's Cat

 Brave Beocat,
 brood-kit of Ecgthmeow,
 Hearth-pet of Hrothgar
 in whose high halls
 He mauled without mercy
 many fat mice,
 Night did not find napping
 nor snack-feasting.
 The wary war-cat,
 whiskered paw-wielder,
 Bearer of the burnished neck-belt,
 gold-braided collar band,
 Feller of fleas
 fatal, too, to ticks,
 The work of wonder-smiths,
 woven with witches' charms,
 Sat on the throne-seat
 his ears like sword points
 Upraised, sharp-tipped,
 listening for peril-sounds,
 When he heard from the moor-hill
 howls of the hell-hound,
 Gruesome hunger-grunts
 of Grendel's Great Dane,
 Deadly doom-mutt,
 dread demon dog.
 The boasted Beocat,
 noble battle kitten,
 Bane of barrow-bunnies,
 bold seeker of nest-booty:
 "If hand of man unhasped
 the heavy hall-door
 And freed me to frolic forth
 to fight the fang-bearing fiend,
 I would lay the whelpling low
 with lethal claw-blows;
 Fur would fly
 and the foe would taste death-food.
 But resounding snooze-noise,
 stern slumber-thunder,
 Nose-music of men snoring
 mead-hammered in the wine-hall,
 Fills me with sorrow-feeling
 for Fate does not see fit
 To send some fingered folk
 to lift the firm-fastened latch
 That I might go grapple
 with the grim ghoul-pooch."
 Thus spoke the mouse-shredder,
 hunter of hall-pests,
 Short-haired Hrodent-slayer,
 greatest of pussy-Geats.


	The Cat's Tale
	by Geoffrey Chaucer's Cat

 A Cat there was, a gentil tailless Manx
 Our Hoste hadde seen astray on Thames banks
 And taken home to ridden him of rats,
 At whiche she preved to been the beste of cats.
 He longed to bringe on pilgrimage his pette,
 But Puss bigan to fussen and to frette
 When that she sawgh the leathern hond-luggage
 In whiche she was yschlept on viage;
 She thinketh that no Canterbury mous
 Be worth an expditioun from hir hous,
 And so she took hir leave of us apace
 And crept into a secret hiding-place,
 And when the folk the pavement gan to pounde,
 This Pussie-Cat was nowhere to be founde,
 And she was leften in the hostelrye
 To keepen all the rodentes compaignye;
 And that is how this Cat withouten tail
 Became as wel a Cat withouten tale.


	Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy
	by William Shakespeare's Cat

 To go outside, and there perchance to stay
 Or to remain within: that is the question:
 Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
 The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
 That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
 Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
 And so by dozing melt the solid hours
 That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
 And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare
 Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
 A wish to venture forth without delay,
 Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
 As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep;
 To choose not knowing when we may once more
 Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
 For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
 Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
 And going out and coming in were made
 As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
 What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
 The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
 The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
 The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
 That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
 He might his exodus or entrance make
 With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear,
 Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
 But that the dread of our unheeded cries
 And scratches at a barricaded door
 No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
 And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
 Than run away to unguessed miseries?
 Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
 And thus the bristling hair of resolution
 Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
 And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
 We pause upon the threshold of decision.


	Vet, Be Not Proud
	by John Donne's Cat

 Vet, be not proud, though thou canst make cats die
 Thou livest but one life, while we live nine,
 And if our lives were half as bleak as thine,
 We would not seek from thy cold grasp to fly.
 We do not slave our daily bread to buy;
 Our eyes are blind to gold and silver's shine;
 We owe no debt, we pay no tax or fine;
 We tremble not when creditors draw nigh.
 The sickest animal that thou dost treat
 Is weller than a man; in peace we dwell
 And know not guilt or sin, and fear not hell:
 Poor vet, we live in heaven at thy feet.
 But do not think that any cat will weep
 When thee a Higher Vet doth put to sleep.


	To the Kittens,
	to Make Much of Time
	by Robert Herrick's Cat

 Get ye a human while ye may,
   When you are still a kitten,
 For by a cat too long a stray
   Men's hearts are seldom smitten.

 The master of yon cozy house
   May wed a maid with puppies;
 Or set a trap to catch a mouse,
   Or buy a bowl of guppies.

 Cold rains will soon the summer drown,
   And ice will crack the willow;
 And though the snow is soft as down,
   It makes a chilly pillow.

 Then hands that would have stroked your head,
   When you came in from prowling,
 Will hurl at you a boot instead
   To halt your awful howling.


	The Yellow Goldfish
	by William Carlos William's Cat

 so much depends

 a yellow gold

 washed down with bowl

 inside the white


Other contributors to "Poetry for Cats":

John Milton's Cat  ("The Prologue" to "Territory Lost")
William Blake's Cat ("Mongrel! Mongrel! Barking blight")
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Cat ("Kubla Kat")
Edgar Allen Poe's Cat ("The End of the Raven")
Walt Whitman's Cat ("Meow of Myself," from "Leaves of Catnip")
Emily Dickinson's Cat ("There is no Cat-toy like a Mouse")
Joyce Kilmer's Cat ("Treed")
Dylan Thomas's Cat ("Do Not Go Peaceable to That Damn Vet")
Allen Ginsberg's Cat ("Meowl")


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