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An Unusual Cat-Poem -- Wendy Cope

(Poem #1059) An Unusual Cat-Poem
 My cat is dead
 But I have decided not to make a big tragedy of it.
-- Wendy Cope


[Minstrels Links]

There's no shortage of usual cat-poems on the Minstrels, no, none at all:
Poem #165, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat  -- Edward Lear
Poem #167, Pangur Ban  -- Anon. (Irish, 8th century)
Poem #258, Macavity: The Mystery Cat -- T. S. Eliot
Poem #273, How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted  -- Guy Wetmore
Poem #282, Fog  -- Carl Sandburg
Poem #401, To a Cat  -- Jorge Luis Borges
Poem #572, Mort aux Chats -- Peter Porter
Poem #574, Growltiger's Last Stand -- T. S. Eliot
Poem #575, To Mrs Reynolds' Cat -- John Keats
Poem #577, The Cat and the Moon -- William Butler Yeats
Poem #659, Poem -- William Carlos Williams
Poem #660, On a Night of Snow -- Elizabeth Coatsworth
Poem #661, Jubilate Agno -- Christopher Smart
Poem #662, Cat -- Jibanananda Das
Poem #663, A Child's Nightmare -- Robert Graves
Poem #674, Aunt Jennifer's Tigers -- Adrienne Rich
Poem #727, Milk for the Cat -- Harold Monro
Poem #955, Gus: The Theatre Cat -- T. S. Eliot
Poem #1008, Cat -- J. R. R. Tolkien
Poem #1010, Cats -- A. S. J. Tessimond

48 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

nick blackburn said...

I like a lot of the poems in WM. Equally, I am
indifferent to many, especially those involving
daffodils and suchlike. A lot are silly or a waste of
time and space. But this is the first poem I have
disliked enough to respond to. This is nothing at all
to do with the fact that I enjoy cats, it is just a
terrible poem. I would even venture that it is not a
poem at all. At least my contribution to the Oeuvre of
Suspect Poetry [Ode to a Drainpipe: You hang on the
wall, ever so tall] rhymes and scans.

Nick B

Nick Blackburn

Joe Arthur said...

What a fraud! That cat is not unusual just because it is dead!
Having decided not to make a big tragedy of it, one hopes Wendy copes.

The poem itself is more unusual because it's title is 25% as long as the
text and contains only one word in common - possibly a weakness in the
poet's craft, zero would have been more of a challenge. The fact that I am
talking about quantity here infers that quality is not an issue!

I know I'll regret this, but, how many poems reduce the 25% ratio of title
to text? Is there a published poem whose title out quantifies it's text?
Does it matter that I counted the words and not the characters?

Joe Arthur

James Swenson said...

At the risk of being pedantic, I'd like to clarify that what's "unusual"
in the title is the poem, not the cat. The title gives the game away;
Cope is needling the authors of saccharine cat-poetry. At the same time,
she chooses the word "decided" to signal her sense of restrained grief.
I find her achievement remarkable -- she has packed a lot of internal
conflict into a little space.

For Mr. Arthur, the best I can offer is a poem by Judith Viorst from "If I
Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries": I suspect others can
improve upon its 227% ratio, if they're so inclined. [I follow his
judgment in counting the hyphenated word as two.] Mr. Blackburn will be
pleased to note that the poem rhymes and scans.

James Swenson


Maybe life was better
When I used to be a wetter.

--Judith Viorst

Goopiga22 said...

hey i thought that your poem was one of the worst poems taht there are and i
dont even consider it a poem and i think that you shoudl just take it off the
internet so that you dont get anymroe critisicim from it cause when anything
die sit is a big deal especially for me cause my cat died almost 3 years ago
and that was the hardest thing that i ever had to go through and i know tha t1
day i will have to go throught it again so jsut take it off thank

ben maxwell said...

Well *I* liked it.

Tim Coles said...

Wendy cope is dead
But i have decided not to make a big tragedy of it.

Tim Coles said...

Wendy Cope is dead
But i have decided not to make a big tragedy of it.

Miss H Waterworth said...

Sad.... you haven't got a heart and without a heart you can't write poetry.

Wolf Clostermann said...

Have been very fond of this poem every since I was a wee sprog. Makes me

Cameron Clan said...

I luv this poem(Im 10)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ittai Klein said...

There should be some kind of moderator that reviews the comments and quickly
removes those that are not fit to print.
I shall not delve into what should be the criterions; just get an
intelligent person with an open mind and good taste.
(After installing the above-recommended functionary he is invited to remove
this comment, as it becomes superfluous)

Ittai Klein said...

There should be some kind of moderator that reviews the comments and quickly
removes those that are not fit to print.
I shan’t delve into what should be the criterions; just get an intelligent
person with an open mind and good taste.
(After installing the above-recommended functionary he is invited to remove
this comment, as it becomes superfluous)

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