The crepuscular cat
roams in the half-light
sleeps day and night.
An uninvited guest in a shabby ginger coat
steals in and takes the scraps
left uneaten by my own choosy pair.
He cowers and fliches as though somebody's hurt him.
His neediness repels me, yet I pity him as well.
Sometimes in the morning I'm aware he's spent the night here
from the tufts of ginger fur he's left behind,
but he's neither loved nor cared for,
gets no treats or creature comforts,
just seeks some warmth and shelter,
so I don't really mind.
One time I let him sit and stay and gazed into his eyes.
Their wistful, amber pleading touched my heart.
I would love this scruffy stranger,
take him in and make him welcome,
let him share our homely pleasures -
but I can't.
Where do you come from old Tom Cat
in your quest for a lady- friend?
You rend the dawn with your call so forlorn –
a wandering minstrel with bold intent.
But the local Queens are pampered and spayed
and deaf to your bootless cries in the night.
Only I lie, awake now, a witness to your plight
and chase my dreams in the pale morning light.
Wallace, you're the jolliest
with your dashing white whiskers.
How quickly you're growing little man!
Soon, you'll be scampering out in the lane
and I'll call for you again and again.
I have a little cat named Wallace -
you could say he's a proper little gent
with his smart white tux and his socks so neat
and the dashing white whiskers on his cheeks.
But his nature belies his appearance so refined,
he's a true alley cat underneath
with the loudest cry and the keenest eye,
he never admits defeat.
And when he grows tired from his hunting
he comes home for his supper and rest.
He jumps on the bed, lets me tickle his chest
and that's when I love him the best.
Wallace was the glossiest,
the boldest and the jolliest -
he lived his nine lives in a year and and a half.
And I will recover, as I have in the past.
So for now I'll carry on, face each day like the last,
with his name on my lips and his loss in my heart.
creeps in through the curtains at a quarter to five,
announces herself with a cry.
With dew on her fur, and whiskers and paws
she brings night-time adventure to the cosy indoors.
How shall I greet her as she nibbles my nose,
purrs in my ear and plays with my toes?
With love and affection, how could I not?
I feed her, she needs me, she is all that I’ve got.
Piper sits prettily on the window sill,
savouring the season's sun.
In the morning brightness her black fur shines tawny.
Her little trap opens and she silently yawns,
showing sharp needle teeth.
With her tail furled neatly around cruel, soft paws
she surveys her domain with her caramel eyes and thinks,
"This'll do nicely, thanks."
Poems for Meg died February 2014 aged 16½
The absent presence
of a lately lost companion
a present absence
I should like my gentle girl to have lived just one last Spring –
to take the sun in her favourite bower
and dance and sing in an April shower –
her final fling.
She was my gentle, golden-eyed girl,
my centre of peace and calm,
spirit of home with a reaching arm
drawing me back from afar.
I knew that when I lost her I’d grieve a long while,
refusing all comfort and solace -
I’d dwell on her beauty, remember her charm,
and I’d place golden flowers on the grave
of my golden-eyed girl.
Immoderate love, how will you weather the loss of an object so dear?
Will you seek for another
or dissolve into tears, and keep vigil for ever by memory’s grave?
Or will you surrender in days and in years
to the grief of acceptance that love gently fades?
Postscript: Spring 2015
It’s over a year now and I think of her still
more in affection than sorrow,
and I did find another but they’ll never erase
the memory of her special ways.
The seeds that I sowed on her grave last Spring
have so far no flowers borne
and when they do it will be a sign
that I should cease to mourn.
The past is gone, it’s time to move on.
I can, I am, I will.