Monday, 30 November -0001

Purrfect Poems

Cats have fascinated, amused and inspired poets for many years. With special thanks to the British Library, here are some of our favourites

Kitty: What She Thinks of Herself, William Brighty Rands (1823-1882)
I am the cat of cats. I am
The everlasting cat!
Cunning, and old, and sleek as jam,
The everlasting cat! I hunt vermin in the night – The everlasting cat!
For I see best without the light –
The everlasting cat!

Marigold, Richard Garnett (1835-1906)
She moved through the
garden in glory because
She had very long claws at the
end of her paws.
Her back was arched, her tail
was high.
A green fire glared in her
vivid eye;
And all the toms, though
never so bold,
Quailed at the martial
Marigold.
(From The Cats’ Newspaper c.1808)

Pussy Can Sit by the Fire, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Pussy can sit by the fire and
sing,
Pussy can climb a tree
Or play with a silly old cork
and string
To ‘muse herself, not me.
But I like Binkie my dog,
because
He knows how to behave;
So, Binkie’s the same as the
First Friend was,
And I am the Man in the Cave!
Pussy will play Man Friday till
It’s time to wet her paw
And make her walk on the
window-sill
(For the footprint Crusoe saw);
Then she fluffles her tail and
mews,
And scratches and won’t
attend
But Binkie will play whatever
I choose,
And he is my true First Friend!
Pussy will rub my knees with
her head
Pretending she loves me hard;
But the very minute I go to
my bed
Pussy runs out in the yard,
And there she stays till the
morning-light;
So I know it is only pretend
And he is my Firstest Friend.

The Shadow Kitten, Oliver Herford (1863-1935)
There’s a funny little kitten
that tries to look like me,
But, though I’m round and
fluffy, he’s as flat as flat can be;
And when I try to mew to him
he never makes a sound,
And when I jump into the air
he never leaves the ground.
He has a way of growling
I don’t understand at all.
Sometimes he’s very little and
sometimes he’s very tall.
And once when in the garden
when the sun came up
at dawn
He grew so big I think he
stretched half-way across
the lawn.

The Cat and the Rain, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
Careful observers may foretell
the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to
dread a shower;
While rain depends, the
pensive cat gives o’er
Her frolics, and pursues her
tail no more.

I Had a Little Cat, Charles Causley (1917-2003)
I had a little cat called
Tim Tom Tay
I took him to town on
market day,
I combed his whiskers,
I brushed his tail,
I wrote on a label ‘Cat for Sale.
Knows how to deal with rats
and mice.
Two pounds fifty. Bargain
price.’

But when the people came
to buy
I saw such a look in Tim Tom’s
eye
That it was clear as clear
could be
I couldn’t sell Tim for
a fortune’s fee.
I was shamed and sorry, I’ll tell
you plain
And I took home Tim Tom Tay
again.

Do you have a poem about a cat you have known? Please send it to us at the usual Bedford Street address or by email to editors@lady.co.uk for possible inclusion in our 24 July double issue. 

The Cat And The Moon And Other Cat Poems, is published by The British Library, priced £7.99.



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