(Words bracketed like _this_ were italicised in the text)
(Poem #273) How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted
A poet had a cat. There is nothing odd in that- (I _might_ make a little pun about the _Mews_!) But what is really more Remarkable, she wore A pair of pointed patent-leather shoes. And I doubt me greatly whether E'er you heard the like of that: Pointed shoes of patent-leather On a cat! His time he used to pass Writing sonnets, on the grass- (I _might_ say something good on _pen_ and _sward_!) While the cat sat near at hand, Trying hard to understand The poems he occasionally roared. (I myself possess a feline, But when poetry I roar He is sure to make a bee-line For the door.) The poet, cent by cent, All his patrimony spent- (I _might_ tell how he went from _verse_ to _werse_!) Till the cat was sure she could, By advising, do him good. So addressed him in a manner that was terse: "We are bound toward the scuppers, And the time has come to act, Or we'll both be on our uppers For a fact!" On her boot she fixed her eye, But the boot made no reply- (I _might_ say: "Couldn't speak to save its _sole_!") And the foolish bard, instead Of responding, only read A verse that wasn't bad upon the whole. And it pleased the cat so greatly, Though she knew not what it meant, That I'll quote approximately How it went:- "If I should live to be The last leaf upon the tree"- (I _might_ put in: "I think I'd just as _leaf_!") "Let them smile, as I do now, At the old forsaken bough"- Well, he'd plagiarized it bodily, in brief! But that cat of simple breeding Couldn't read the lines between, So she took it to a leading Magazine. She was jarred and very sore When they showed her to the door. (I _might_ hit off the door that was a _jar_!) To the spot she swift returned Where the poet sighed and yearned, And she told him that he'd gone a little far. "Your performance with this rhyme has Made me absolutely sick," She remarked. "I think the time has Come to kick!" I could fill up half the page With descriptions of her rage- (I might say that she went a bit too fur!) When he smiled and murmured: "Shoo!" "There is one thing I can do!" She answered with a wrathful kind of purr. "You may shoo me, and it suit you, But I feel my conscience bid Me, as tit for tat, to boot you!" (Which she did.) _The Moral_ of the plot (Though I say it, as should not!) Is: An editor is difficult to suit. But again there're other times When the man who fashions rhymes Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot!
A slightly different poem by Carryl - unlike the previous two we've run, this one is not a fable or fairytale retelling (though there seems to be a nod towards 'Puss in Boots'). The humour appears to be mainly in the parenthetical comments, a fairly common form of humour in which the author uses a deliberately heavyhanded approach - the joke works on two levels, both as a pun, and as a sly poke at people who *think* they're funny. And as a final note, the poem referred to is 'The Last Leaf' by Oliver Wendell Holmes ([broken link] http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/owh/ll.html)  I have no idea whether he's parodying anything specific here, but I associate the form with Grossmith's 'Diary of a Nobody' - all the funnier there because the protagonist actually did think he was funny, and insisted on emphasising all his puns so that the listener wouldn't miss the point. Links: I am still unable to find a biography of Carryl, and would be eternally grateful to anyone who could supply one The previous two Carryl poems are available at [broken link] http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/index_poet.html m.