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Ode to the Cat

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've been sent this poem and thought you would like to read it.

Ode to the Cat
The animals were imperfect,
long of tail,
sorrowful of head.
Little by little they got adjusted,
made landscape,
acquired spots, graces, flight.
The cat only,
the cat appeared complete
and proud:
born fully finished
he walked by himself and knew what he wanted.

Man wants to be fish and bird,
the serpent had wanted wings,
the dog is a displaced lion,
the engineer wants to be a poet,
the fly studies how to be a swallow,
the poet tries to imitate flies,
but the cat
wants only to be a cat
and every cat is cat
from whiskers to tail,
from presentiment to living rat,
from the night right up to his golden eyes.
Nothing has
his unity,
nothing lunar or floral
has such a texture:
he is one whole
like the sun or the topaz,
and the springing curve of his controur
firm and subtle as
the line of a ship's prow.
His yellow eyes
leave a single slot
through which the coins of night drop.

Oh little
emperor without a realm,
conquistador without a country,
smallest tiger in the salon,
and nuptial sultan of the heaven
of erotic housetops.
Love's wind you claim
in the wild weather
when you pass
and place
four feet, delicate,
on the ground,
distrusting the whole universe
as if it all were too dirty
for a cat's immaculate foot.
Oh proud Independent of the house,
haughty remnant of night
lazy, athletic
and alien,
profoundest cat,
secret police
of the dwellings
of a vanished velvet,
surely there is no enigma
in your manner,
perhaps no mystery,
the whole world knows you and you belong
to the least mysterious of householders
perhaps all feel that, all who feel themselves owners,
masters, uncles
of cats, companions, colleagues,
students or friends
of the cat.

I don't--
I don't buy that,
I don't understand cats.
All these I know: life and its archipelago,
the sea and the unmeasurable city,
the pistil and its deviations,
the for and the minus of mathematics,
the world's volcanic funnels,
the crocodile's unreal rind,
the fireman's unknowable goodness,
yet I cannot decipher a cat.
My understanding slips on his indifference,
his eyes hold golden numbers.
Pablo Neruda
Version by John Hollander
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
And also there's Star Trek's Mr. Data one:

Ode to Spot
By Commander Data, Starfleet

Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
a singular development of cat communications
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.
post #3 of 3
Mars, I really enjoyed "Ode to the Cat." What a wonderful description and great images! And I think Mr. Spock would appreciate Data's logic, but I believe Spot is sentient! (Someone made a slight mistake in his programming, I think.)
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