FOR LITERATE CATS AND THEIR HUMANS
“Was this the puss that munched a thousand mice
And napped atop the towers of Ilium? ….”
excerpt from Mephistopheles by Christopher Marlow’s Cat
“In Xanadu did Kubla Kat
A splendid sofa-bed decree
With silken cushions soft and fat
A perfect feline habitat…”
excerpt from Kula Kat by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Cat
Henry Beard’s Poetry for Cats, The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse, is a must for literate cats and their humans, especially if said humans love cats as much as they love poetry. Beard does a fine job with his parodies, keeping the meter and rhyme of original poem and capturing the idiosyncrasies of cats in the way that only someone who lives with them and loves them could. The book is dedicated to Serafina – “il miglior gatto” – the best cat. That says it all, doesn’t it?
“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.”
excerpt from Do Not Go Peaceable to That Damn Vet by Dylan Thomas’s Cat
The book includes some forty parodies of poems by poets of renown including Chaucer, Donne, Blake, Shelley, Kilmer, Ransom, Nash and Ginsberg and three she-poets: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickenson and Gertrude Stein.
The elders among us will remember American humorist Henry Beard (b. 1945) as one of the founders of National Lampoon. His other books include French for Cats, A Cat’s Night Before Christmas, A Dogs’s Night Before Christmas and Zen for Cats. Beard wrote humorously about Latin, Golf,Lord of the Rings, political figures, and other topics. His Amazon page is HERE.
Poetry for Cats is well-crafted and just plain fun, relief in a world that is forever dishing up strife and stress. No spewing hairballs on this one. Dahlia gave it a paws-up and her humans – my son and daughter-in-law – loved it too. It makes a sweet gift, which it was in this case.
Thanks to Embarcadero Jack for photographing Dahlia reading. (What can I say? Grandkitty is a very smart cat.)
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”
The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others
“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA
“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton