Cat – poem for NaPoWriMo – 23

The cat is melting into the wall,

like treacle: viscous slide

into the horizontal,

eyes closed, paws limp,

she’s an old t-shirt

washed a thousand times,

she’s silence,

still as a dark pool,

dreaming of dreaming.

The cat is still

as a dark pool,

tense as a blade

quivering with desire,

eyes open, holes to let

the light shine through,

and eyes, ears, nose –

all senses pointed

as a dagger,

pure focus.


NaPoWriMo prompts us to write about an animal. I bet you thought I was going to write about a rook, didn’t you? If you know anyone who wants to publish a rook chapbook, let me know. I do have a slight poetic obsession.

Cat boy cat

Watching you fighting
I am amazed at
your tenacious grip,
and that slippery twist
of hip, and shoulder,
that keeps you standing.
Even when you fall
you seem to come down
on your feet.

Hard to believe
this is the same you
that sprawls soft on the sofa,
all liquid limbs;
that spends hours
watching something shiny,
chasing some fleck of light.

And, yes, you are affectionate,
curling warm beside me,
but I know that left alone
you’d survive, somehow,
and that sometimes
the forest calls you.


This is for Kim at dVerse, who is asking us to write about a person as if they are an animal, or an animal as if they are a person. I’m not entirely sure which way round I’ve done it! I feel I should clarify that my son does judo, so it’s not just random fighting we’re talking about. It’s a funny sport. You watch kids turning on their fight head, and then sitting chatting with the kid they’ve just been battling with a few minutes later.

Boris – NaPoWriMo 3

It was that noise he made –
Random vowels,
That yowl –
We hear it sometimes
When an engine fails,
Or a gull cries. Sometimes
One of us “does it”,
If we happen
To be reminiscing.

Johnson or Yeltsin?
Someone asked me.
But the name came with him.
It suited him –
Big ugly bruiser,
White and blonde.
Not an attractive cat.

He was dead before
We took him on –
Resurrected on the day
Our neighbour left,
Reappearing, unangelic,
Unheralded. No one knew
Where he had been,
Or how his ear
Got torn.

We took him in,
Offered the paradise
Of food, bed, cushion,
And he melted
Like butter in the sun,
Hung limp in the arms
Of a small child,
Tolerated kittens,
Cuddles, worming.

Ugly, yes, but so
Good natured,
And so aware,
I always thought,
Of his good luck
In finding us.

That yowl, though,
Shocking –
Shook hands,
Knocked over glasses,
Shook guests,
Knocked over chairs.

And those white hairs –
Because he couldn’t
See you sitting
In the garden
Without climbing aboard.

And he stank.

That yowl, though.

This is by way of an elegy to Boris, who passed away three years ago, after a happy old age. I don’t know much about his earlier years. He’d disappeared for about nine months, and reappared the day his owner left. He’d obviously had a few adventures. He was the best-natured cat I’ve ever known, but had unfortunate personal habits.