Guest poem sent in by Suresh Ramasubramanian
(Poem #1079) mehitabel and her kittens
well boss mehitabel the cat has reappeared in her old haunts with a flock of kittens three of them this time archy she says to me yesterday the life of a female artist is continually hampered what in hell have i done to deserve all these kittens i look back on my life and it seems to me to be just one damned kitten after another i am a dancer archy and my only prayer is to be allowed to give my best to my art but just as i feel that i am succeeding in my life work along comes another batch of these damned kittens it is not archy that i am shy on mother love god knows i care for the sweet little things curse them but am i never to be allowed to live my own life i have purposely avoided matrimony in the interests of the higher life but i might just as well have been a domestic slave for all the freedom i have gained i hope none of them gets run over by an automobile my heart would bleed if anything happened to them and i found it out but it isn t fair archy it isn t fair these damned tom cats have all the fun and freedom if i was like some of these green eyed feline vamps i know i would simply walk out on the bunch of them and let them shift for themselves but i am not that kind archy i am full of mother love my kindness has always been my curse a tender heart is the cross i bear self sacrifice always and forever is my motto damn them i will make a home for the sweet innocent little things unless of course providence in his wisdom should remove them they are living just now in an abandoned garbage can just behind a made over stable in greenwich village and if it rained into the can before i could get back and rescue them i am afraid the little dears might drown it makes me shudder just to think of it of course if i were a family cat they would probably be drowned anyhow sometimes i think the kinder thing would be for me to carry the sweet little things over to the river and drop them in myself but a mother s love archy is so unreasonable something always prevents me these terrible conflicts are always presenting themselves to the artist the eternal struggle between art and life archy is something fierce my what a dramatic life i have lived one moment up the next moment down again but always gay archy always gay and always the lady too in spite of hell well boss it will be interesting to note just how mehitabel works out her present problem a dark mystery still broods over the manner in which the former family of three kittens disappeared one day she was taking to me of the kittens and the next day when i asked her about them she said innocently what kittens interrogation point and that was all i could ever get out of her on the subject we had a heavy rain right after she spoke to me but probably that garbage can leaks so the kittens have not yet been drowned archy
well, we haven't had an archy poem since at least a couple of years, i think. the last one was on oct 9, 1999, from a cursory look at the minstrels archives. i hereby propose to remedy this. motherhood and career - as seen through the eyes of a cat on her ninth life whose soul once belonged to cleopatra. -srs (all lowercase mail for an all lowercase poem) [Martin adds] Suresh is right - we have indeed not had one of these in a while, and I do thank him for remedying that. One of the things that I like about the Archy and Mehitabel poems is that they work not just as poems, but as continuing episodes in a narrative that is enthralling in its own right; Archy and Mehitabel are characters that we come to care about, and in whose development we can take an interest quite orthogonal to the (considerable) poetic merits of the individual pieces. Today's poem is a genuinely moving glimpse into Mehitabel's moral dilemma, and the ending is as artistically satisfying as it is disturbing.