Guest poem submitted twice in quick succession, by Gerry Roweand Leoni Burke :
(Poem #1010) Cats
Cats no less liquid than their shadows Offer no angles to the wind. They slip, diminished, neat through loopholes Less than themselves; will not be pinned To rules or routes for journeys; counter Attack with non-resistance; twist Enticing through the curving fingers And leave an angered empty fist. They wait obsequious as darkness Quick to retire, quick to return; Admit no aim or ethics; flatter With reservations; will not learn To answer to their names; are seldom Truly owned till shot or skinned. Cats no less liquid than their shadows Offer no angles to the wind.
[Leoni's comments] I learnt this poem when I was a child for my elocution class. You should really read it aloud as the words slither and twist just like a cat in motion. It's one of the best descriptive poems about cats that I've ever read. [Gerry's comments] The couplet with which this poem opens and closes contains a pair of images beautifully contrived to convey the morally, emotionally and physically elusive feline nature. The lines that fall between the opening and closing are slightly more down-to-earth but have two great virtues: firstly they scan and rhyme very pleasingly; secondly they consist of a list of terse descriptive statements of such evident or near-as-dammit truth that you read each one off with growing admiration for the poet's powers of observation and expression. This is my favourite cat poem because, apart from being beautifully written, it is unsentimental and relatively free of the anthropomorphic tendency, just full of shrewd respect for an animal that appears incapable of losing its dignity and right to self determination in any relationship with a human even, perhaps especially, with a person claiming to be its 'owner'. I'm afraid I know nothing of A.S.J. Tessimond. I came across another of his or her cat poems that wasn't as good but for me this one stands alone above all others on the theme.