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Works from the Literary Greats'... Cats

Actually written by Henry N. Beard.  Collected in
Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse
By Henry Beard & Gary Zamchick (Illustrator), 1994

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(The End of...)
...The Raven
By Edgar Allen Poe's Cat

On a night quite unenchanting, when the rain was downward slanting,
I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for.
Tipsy and a bit unshaven, in a tone I found quite craven,
Poe was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door.
"Raven's very tasty," thought I, as I tiptoed o'er the floor,
"There is nothing I like more"

Soft upon the rug I treaded, calm and careful as I headed
Towards his roost atop that dreaded bust of Pallas I deplore.
While the bard and birdie chattered, I made sure that nothing clattered,
Creaked, or snapped, or fell, or shattered, as I crossed the corridor;
For his house is crammed with trinkets, curios and weird decor -
Bric-a-brac and junk galore.

Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered,
In a voice that shrieked and sputtered, his two cents' worth -
"Nevermore."

While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up,
Then I crouched and quickly lept up, pouncing on the feathered bore.
Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore -
Only this and not much more.

"Oooo!" my pickled poet cried out, "Pussycat, it's time I dried out!
Never sat I in my hideout talking to a bird before;
How I've wallowed in self-pity, while my gallant, valiant kitty
Put and end to that damned ditty" - then I heard him start to snore.
Back atop the door I clambered, eyed that statue I abhor,
Jumped - and smashed it on the floor.

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Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy
By William Shakespeare's Cat

To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within : that is the question.
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell.

To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt.
To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our re-admittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl.

What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make with a mere mitten?

Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to un-guessed miseries?

Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.

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Do Not Go Peaceable To That Damn Vet
By Dylan Thomas's Cat

Do not go peaceable to that damn vet,
A cat can always tell a trip is due,
Hide, hide, when your appointment time is set.

Wise cats who watched, and learned the alphabet,
And never let men know how much they knew,
Do not go peaceable to that damn vet.

Young cats who want to keep their claws to whet
On sofa legs, and save their privates, too,
Hide, hide when your appointment time is set.

Sick cats, poor things, whose stomachs are upset,
But hate to eat some vile-smelling goo,
Do not go peaceable to that damn vet.

Old cats who ahve no wish to sleep just yet,
And plan to live another year or two,
Hide, hide when your appointment time is set.

And though your human sweetly calls his pet,
Or rants and raves until his face is blue,
Do not go peaceable to that damn vet,
Hide, hide when your appointment time is set.

 
 

I had to include the following, as Ogden Nash is one of my favorite poets.

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Cat Years
By Ogden Nash's Cat

1. Paradox

I wonder why no human ever seems to catch on
The things that aren't forbidden are no fun to scratch on.

2. One of Nine Million Reasons Why Cats Are Superior to Dogs

The next time you put on your waterproof togs
And venture outside while it rains cats and dogs,
Ask which you'd rather have land on your noodle:
A cute little cat or a ninety-pound poodle?

3. A Matter of Perspective

I know dead mice aren't very nice
When dropped right at your feet;
You no doubt wish you could entice
Your cat to be discreet.

But as you view the things I slew,
Just think what luck you've got:
Your basement's free of caribou,
And I'm no ocelot.

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About Henry N. Beard

The Actual Book

Poetry for Cats

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All the world's indeed a stage
And we are merely players,
Performers and portrayers,
Each another's audience...

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