All About Cats
Introduction: All About Cats
At some point of time, in one's literary life, I guess one has to write a poem (preferably a nonsense poem or nonsense story) about cats. T.S. Eliot wrote some excellent character poems (which were highly imaginative nonsense poems) about cats. I remember reading about Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat, the Rum Tum Tugger, Growltiger and Macavity the Mystery Cat - all famous felines in "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot. (And, believe it or not, I read that book when I was in college!)
But, of course, what inspired me to write this nonsense poem must have been Edward Lear's whimsical rendition, The Owl and the Pussycat. The Owl and the Pussycat decided to get married, so they sailed away to the land where the Bong Tree grows, and there they found a Piggy-wig with a ring at the end of his nose. They purchased the ring for a shilling, and (using it as a wedding ring) they were married by a Turkey who lived on a hill. I like the lines: 'They dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon.' I wonder what runcible means? The dictionary says it's a three-pronged fork, curved like a spoon. But I think Lear meant that it was an edible spoon, which you ate after eating the mince and quince. The poem ends with the Owl and the Pussy dancing together in the light of the moon.
The Cat That Walked by Himself is an enchanting story from the book 'Just-So Stories' by Rudyard Kipling. The story ends with a cute poem which compares Pussy with Binkie 'my dog', whom Kipling calls 'my firstest friend'. If you had to choose between cats and dogs, I'm sure the majority of us would choose dogs. Cats are too independent; dogs are subservient (dog lovers use the word 'faithful'). You can't expect a cat to fetch a ball of wool, but our canine friends will go barking over a long field just to grab a broken twig and bring it back panting in their mouth. Dogs can dance and frolic, but cats only caterwaul. And sometimes you have get up in the night to throw a bucket of water on them just to make them stop mewling like babies. So much for cats!
Of course, as a child, there was one cat I really loved and that was Puss in Boots. That was really a fascinating children's story. And I like the way this super-intelligent cat referred to his master as the Marquis of Carabas. There's a flourish about that title. And - can you believe it? - this renowned tale was written by a retired French civil servant by the name, Charles Perrault, in the 17th century.
It would be unfair if I did not mention the famous cartoon cats. Felix the Cat and Herman and Katnip belong to an older generation. I believe the latter pair were the progenitors of Tom and Jerry, the ever-popular duo created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. During our childhood we enjoyed Top Cat and his friends, Benny, Choo Choo, and the rest of the gang of Manhattan alley cats. And there was Sylvester who was always trying to gobble up Tweety. Nowadays, we are amused by Heathcliff and Garfield in the cartoon strips of the daily newspapers. But somehow the charm of the former cats - the felines that we read in the old comic books and childhood story books - is missing from these modern 'newspaper' caricatures.
i. Radio-active cats have eighteen half-lives. ~Timothy Cooper, Twitter.
ii. Every dog has his day, but the nights are reserved for the cats.
iii. If you hold a cat by the tail you will learn things you cannot learn any other way. ~ Mark Twain.
iv. Cats are connoisseurs of comfort. ~James Herriot.
v. It doesn't matter if a cat is black or while, so long as it catches mice.~ Deng Xiaoping
vi. The reason cats climb is so that they can look down on almost every other animal - it's also the reason they hate birds.~ K.C.Buffington.
vii. A cat improves the garden wall in summer, and the hearth in winter. ~Judith Merkel Riley
viii. Before a cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream.
ix. I named my kitten Rose - fur soft as a petal, claws sharper than thorns. ~Astrid Alauda
x. Cats as a class, have never completely got over the snootiness caused by that fact that in Ancient Egypt they were worshipped as gods. ~P.G. Wodehouse
xi. @petstourettes: Cats in the Cradle? I know some old ladies like to humanise their pets, but that's just too much.~Twitter
If I Were a JibJib Cat
If I were a Jibjib Cat
With whiskers on my face,
Then I would wear a little hat
Trimmed with silver lace.
I'd wear a little monocle
For my little eye,
And if I happened to fall ill
I'd have some Puli Fry.
I'd have a little rat to chase
Around my little house,
And for a snack I'd have some dace
With sprinklings of a mouse.
I'd live beside the Wavee Lake
And with a fishing rod
I'd catch some halibut and hake
And pickle them with cod.
And for my dinner, supper, tea,
I'd have some milk and cheese
With speckled salmon from the sea
And sardine made-to-please.
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