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The Cat

Updated on April 30, 2009

This poem was written when I was attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The story in it is essentially true, though the political beliefs expressed within the poem are no longer my own. This is an unedited version of the poem. Please feel free to provide constructive criticism!

Please bear in mind that it has been years since I have seriously written poetry and that while I would love to edit this poem to improve it, I don't consider myself a "poet" at this juncture in my life. I appreciate any honest feedback that I can get and look forward to potentially improving this piece.

Specifically I am considering making it somewhat less political and simply use it as a descriptive poem. I love this piece in particular because it reminds me of that day and the way that I felt in autumn with the sweet little cat.

I can see her there
furled under the tree
tail flipping from time to time
mellow and relaxed, eyes
half closed in
an expression of contentment.   I have to stop to wonder
how long she's been there
and if she's ever going home.
She is thin, and looks old
beyond her years. Small,
I give her nine months, tops.
And that's what's so sad about it.
Just another child left to die.   I can't just walk away
so I click my tongue
and she comes running easily
with the attitude of one
used to affection and caress.
I reach my hand out to
stroke, and the fur is soft.
Not what I had expected.   It isn't faked, this feline
cry of hungry pain. Her paws
are on my thighs, begging me.
But I have nothing except
for a pouch of day-old tobacco,
and I know she doesn't want that.   I can't just shoo her on her away
but there is no place for her
among the brick buildings
and so many trees you feel you
might suffocate for the extra oxygen.
I wonder if this isn't how we
fight our oppression; white
people in a white town filled with
red brick. Keep everything out
that we think we don't want.
Yet she persists.   This tiny feline body,
malnurished and underfed
is stronger than I am
and than I may be
in a lifetime of petting.
There is one thing for her
out of everything that we have
forced into her small, microcosmic
feline tiger tabby world.   That one thing is survival.
How are we to survive without
one another? Can one exist
without the other, or will
we crash and burn too?
Will we starve
sitting beneath a tree,
eyes half closed, the
wind ruffling our fur?   Even here, opressed and forced
to starvation by the laws of man...
she is purring, a soft sound
gentle and token to her existence.
Somebody will listen.  

Poetry on Amazon

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    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I think you did a great job on this poem..simply beautiful...I love cats...I have always had kittys...to love...its been two years since you wrote it..have you revised it..i voted way up..debbie

    • joejagodensky profile image

      joejagodensky 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great theme. Less is more. Tighten up the words and let the images speak for themselves. Color the picture for us and let us paint it. Thanks.

    • dusy7969 profile image

      dusy7969 7 years ago from San Diego, California

      Good hub.I am also like your poem.It is very interesting and useful.I like it very much.So thanks for this amazing sharing.

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Don't know what to tell you about that one, Mayhmong! We have a cat (not ours) that is always on the neighbor's roof. No idea how it gets up there, but it's always there!

    • mayhmong profile image

      mayhmong 9 years ago from North Carolina

      Awww, that's exactly how I feel with my kitties. Now if only I can get her down from the neighbors roof?!

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Thank you, Lgali! The last time I had a comment on this one from someone in your part of the world it was getting torn apart! I love that you liked it!

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      very nice poem you are multitalented .

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Thank you, Maggs! I'm hoping to have some more poetry to share soon, thanks to the encouragement and Hublove :)

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I enjoyed your poem very much, so much so that I have just emailed this page to my daughter as I think that she would like it too, I am enjoying exploring you hubs.

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 9 years ago

      I loved your poem, and for me, it's fine the way it is. I'm also a cat lover. I have a stray cat that visits me often, and my thoughts about her are the same as what you expressed. She is so friendly and sweet, and yes, even purrs. I'm sure it won't be long before I'll adopt her myself.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 9 years ago

      I liked your poem about the cat..... Somewhere i have a poem about a cat who had 3 kittens hidden in a shed, I would watch them from the bedroom window, and it made me feel so sad....

    • RooBee profile image

      Arby Bourne 9 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed this! You should definitely continue writing poetry. Your interweaving literalism & allusion was impressive!

      I'd love to read more!

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 9 years ago from Earth

      Ahh, yeah, I neglected to mention anything about understanding that idea in my last post. ;P

      I'm going to be rifling through my Hubs soon, cleaning them up and upgrading them or what not have you..I'll have to add this idea to my list of things to do. Thanks, teach!

      G|M

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      What I meant is that I can track whether or not visitors are interested enough in the subject to follow one of my links to another hub on the same subject :) I like it!

      Plus trackers can earn you extra money!

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 9 years ago from Earth

      Dood..seriously going to do some research on this...in awhile. ;)

      Good idea!

      I follow my traffic patterns just by looking at "My Account," and Googling the heck out of myself. My ego has yet been fulfilled. =( haha..but most of my Hubs, since the titles are so "interesting," can be typed into Google and be pulled up usually at the top of the first search page.

      G|M

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      It took me a while to figure out the tracking codes, too. I haven't had any signups but I can follow what people are interested in by following the trackers. I have one on each of my groups :)

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 9 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for the advice. ;) I've yet to master this...

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      And yes, I would far prefer either Ohio or North Carolina over Indiana ;)

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      I haven't read your comment above yet. I wanted to get this in while you can still edit.

      Get your tracking code in your link! LOL

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 9 years ago from Earth

      Hope you get to go back to OH. Such a better state. ;)

      As for prose in fiction...I don't think so, personally...for example, one of my favorite books opens up with these lines:

      "The sky above the seaport was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

      Had the writer never developed this skill, most likely through exploring poetry, he would not have been able to make this leap.

      Alternatively, I invite you (but am not trying to promote, or force you to read...) to look at one of my latest Hubs, which includes a rather interesting piece of prose for only one chapter:

      https://hubpages.com/literature/tgc7n8

      It is true that doing one thing too often can cause a work to feel "off." But if you continually inject new ideas, patterns, styles as the novel progresses...by the time the reader is through, you've blown their mind and taught them to follow your style along the way. =)

      At least, I hope I've begun to learn to do this...

      Sincerely,

      G|M

    • Everyday Miracles profile image
      Author

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      I was born and raised around Cleveland :) We're thinking about moving back there, or back to Raleigh. It just depends on who wins lol He's from NC, I'm from OH!

      Artistically speaking I think that there is a danger to falling into prose in a fictional work. I've done it before and for me it makes the work disjointed. I have given up on writing fiction for the time being. If I can somehow turn the erotic into the romantic I might pick it back up. I just don't want to be known as a top shelf author.

      Plus I'm fresh out of ideas. The two poems I posted last night were written during a phase when I was writing a lot of furry work as well.

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 9 years ago from Earth

      Miami Univserity in Ohio..haha..the irony, I always thought. I was born and raised in and around Columbus until I was 15 and we moved out west. Boy, what a dumb idea that's come to be given the economy.

      Awesome poem. Poetry takes time and skill for you to evolve it--but once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite easy. I now can write "poetry-like" paragraphs and scenes into my novels, to give a better overall feel to the work.

      Just a thought.

      Sincerely,

      G|M

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