Sometimes I know what book I’m looking for at the library, and sometimes I scan the shelves hoping to find something good, with varying results. Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse, which I stumbled across at my local library, proved so enjoyable, I bought myself a used copy, given to Meg with love from Joanne and Bob (“May you spend many happy hours curled up in front of the fire reading this”). Thank you, Meg. Your trash is my treasure.
In this anthology, Henry Beard parodies well-known poems, each one “written” by the poet’s cat from a cat’s point of view. John Donne’s cat gives us “Vet, Be Not Proud” while William Carlos Williams’s cat offers up “The Yellow Goldfish.” How Beard managed to successfully parody 39 poems, I’ll never know. I do know that I crack up whenever I read the line “Short-haired Hrodent-slayer” (“Grendel’s Dog,” from Beocat, by the Old English Epic’s Unknown Author’s Cat, Modern English verse translation by the Editor’s Cat). I suspect that majoring in English in college has something to do with it.
It appeared at one time that our cat Buddy had poetic aspirations, but nothing has come of it, for him at least. For me the occasion inspired the following poem. Peace to your ♥ !
Over the keyboard Buddy goes.
Composing what? Cat only knows.
He typed a string of p’s and o’s
That I would label pawful prose.
But what if he meant p-o-e?
Or even (yes!) p-o-e-t?
If paws were hands, this cat could be
The feline Poe of poetry.
© Stephanie Malley