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On A Night of Snow -- Elizabeth Coatsworth

Carrying on with the cat theme...

Guest poem sent in by Martin Davis
(Poem #660) On A Night of Snow
 Cat, if you go outdoors, you must walk in the snow.
 You will come back with little white shoes on your feet,
 little white shoes of snow that have heels of sleet.
 Stay by the fire, my Cat.  Lie still, do not go.
 See how the flames are leaping and hissing low,
 I will bring you a saucer of milk like a marguerite,
 so white and so smooth, so spherical and so sweet -
 stay with me, Cat.  Outdoors the wild winds blow.

 Outdoors the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night,
 strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore,
 and more than cats move, lit by our eyes green light,
 on silent feet where the meadow grasses hang hoar -
 Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might,
 and things that are yet to be done.  Open the door!
-- Elizabeth Coatsworth
I'm afraid that I know nothing of Elizabeth Coatsworth, not can I
remember the anthology in which I found this poem.  When I started to
read it, I thought "Ho hum, another twee cat poem..." ; but then the
cat's voice in the second stanza hits its contrasting view of the world,
and, for me, conjures up the excitement of sharing living space with
cats very successfully.

It works so well that it was only some time after my first reading that
I realised it was a sonnet, 8/6, abbaabba cdcdcd, which I think is
always a tribute to the poet's art.

Regardless of the crafting, it still makes the hair on the back of my
neck rise - I hope you enjoy it too.

Best wishes,
Martin Davis

38 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Anne DeVault said...

You'll find this poem in the anthology, Winter Poems, by Barbara
Rogasky and Trina Schart Hyman. It is a wonderful book from cover to

Pamela Penner said...

I first heard this poem several years ago on my public radio station's little 5-minute poetry segment that airs every weekday morning between national news and Classical music, and I am thrilled to find it again! Thank you. Pamela Penner

Kamagra said...

snow, this natural form of the water deserve a poem, the snow means coldness, some people have a snow soul like me, I think that is the reason of my loneliness, that is the reason for almost any women can be with me for a long time.

Dress Shirt said...

I love your poems Thanks for the entertaining I love reading poems when I;m alone.

joepaw said...

I love this poem. I first heard it about 3 yearrs on a radio show called "The Road Home". "The Road Home" is one hour of poetry and music, 4times a week, on the CKUA radio network.

The poem for me is a metaphor for the battle going on in my head. Unfortunately the mistress usually gets her way and the door stays closed.

That last line. "Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might, and things that are yet to be done. Open the door!" Wow!

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Tully Potter said...

I had one of Elizabeth Coatsworth's books when I was a child. It was called The Cat Who Went to Heaven and was beautifully illustrated and very poetically written. No doubt she had a thing about cats, which I can well understand. Tully Potter

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