Saturday, October 24, 2009

ONCE, WE WERE CATS!




ONCE, WE WERE CATS!


How could I eat under the gaze
of an orange sphere, the black hands
telling me when I could become a cat!


I squirmed in the circle of humanity
and watched the pale thin lips
that would soon speak to set me free.


Outside, the wind was calling to me,
and the dogwood scratched my name
on the side of the house for all to hear.


It’s time!
Down the long hall to the mirrored
room we marched, as if cats already.
One by one, our arms stretched out
into black cat arms, as we flexed
our claws, hunched our backs,
unfurled our tails, and put on our
feline faces – and MEOWWWed.


The mama cat was the last to show,
with laughing eyes, and a proud grin.
She loved her family of cats.
She had chosen well for this night.


With faces all same,
we stair stepped down into the town.
The people all turned out
to see the family of black cats
and called out their approval,
as we walked proud and mysterious -
just as our mama cat had taught us to do.


I loved being a cat!
I smelled rats in the air
mixed with the pungent smell of smoke.
I lurched forward at the bark of a dog,
who was fortunate to have a family
of cats come to call at his front doorstep.


I hissed and spewed and swung my
claws at all the monsters who traveled
to and fro on the ribbon of white -
under a huge milky moon.


…and now…


The faces that were all the same
are gone – given away long ago,
ruined in floods, burned in fires,
forgotten in some trunk,
– turned to dust.
Who knows? Only the
memory of the masks remains.


But - we were a family
of cats one October night –
a proud and mysterious lot.
We laughed and meowed
under a huge Halloween moon,
in the cool evening air,
sweet with the smell of leaves.
Yes, once…we were cats!

25 comments:

Billy said...

Wonderful poem--fun, and with such movement in the lines. I can think of far worse things to be than a cat, but then I'm a cat person.

Karen said...

I can picture all of you and your proud mama cat. Too soon gone. Too soon.

I know it shouldn't, but this makes me very sad for the cats we used to be.

Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

Okay, I can't resist (in a rather silly state of mind this evening): this poem is purrrrrrrrrrrfect!

Seriously though, I love it - haunting stuff!

Aniket said...

I am surrounded by too many Cat lovers to know I should never ever say anything bad about anything to do with Cats if I care about my health (not that I wanted to say anything bad in the first place).

Now, I should write something for Halloween too. Shouldn't miss on all the fun. :D

George said...

Hi K, good to read another of your great poems. Thanks for the comment.

Halloween can sure be fun and bring a different creativity out of us...

George

namingconstellations said...

Everyone in my house except for me is not a cat person. I am way jealous. :) This would be absolutely brilliant to hear read out loud.

(And the word verification for my comment is "joidseat". Do you know how much that makes my day even more?)

jason evans said...

Some of us still are black cats. ;)

Karen said...

Back for another read. I'm getting in the spirit - happy cats and happy days!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Billy - thanks, so much. Yes, there are worse things to be in life. :O


Karen - Yes, memories abound around the holidays, especially. This makes me sad in many ways, too.


Ed - Glad you are letting the sillies out. Never good to keep them in, you know. Thanks!!


Aniket - Right - get to work! Thanks.


George - Hi. Good of you to be here, friend. Glad to see that you are writing again. Thanks! :)


Hi Joseph, You are so kind. Thank you - and joidseat would make anyone's day!!! lol ;D


Jason - indeed....thank you! ;)


Karen - Thank you! Have fun in them thar hills!!! xo

Rick said...

You had to know that I would love this one!

Gel said...

Seasonal, but still your imagination astounds me. This is one "cool cat" of a poem!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rick - Bien sûr j'ai fait mon ami doux de chat!


Gel - thank you. Glad you liked it. ;)

joaquin carvel said...

this is a wonderful autumn poem, misty and nostalgic and mischevious - and the lines slink down the stanzas with a perfect cat-like grace.

and i love the simmer of excitement in it, the eagerness, which (even though a memory)shines and swings those gleeful claws - always a cat, somehow!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joaquin - yes, this memory does seems to take on breath with each new Halloween season. Thanks for joining in on the fun of Halloween with me...I have a trick-or-treat for Halloween night - ^O^

Vesper said...

This poem has a wonderful feline rhythm, Kaye. It's a beautiful, heartwarming memory of the communion of the "cats" in the family, tinged with sadness.
But those moments will be yours forever... Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!


(I was going to write a comment yesterday - I was late again...):-)

Rick said...

K- Vous êtes si intelligents!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Vesper - thank you so very much for your tender comments. You always know my heart.


Rick - Merci. Qu'un compliment agreable.

Julie said...

K, you've done it again! How much fun I've had reading here this October. There are so many lines in this one that I love, like:
"I smelled rats in the air/
mixed with the pungent smell of smoke". That is fantastic.

The second to the last stanza also makes me sad, as Karen says. But I love the beautiful flow of the lines. You should put together a Halloween book. Actually, that might be a great way to make money in poetry, if there is such a thing...haha!

I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sorry to see Halloween end, because I love what you've done with it. But really, who says it has to? If you keep writing, I'll keep reading:)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Julie - I'm glad you have enjoyed the Halloween posts. I really love October and the Halloween scene.

Money in poetry? All I ever get is contributor's copies...and once I even had to pay for a copy that had three of my poems in it! lol (I'm not kidding)

But - I will keep writing about - something...hope you will join me.
;D

Catvibe said...

K, clearly you have my heart with this poem. :-D I used to have a cat named 'mama cat', once a long time ago. This poem makes me want to be cats with you K, and run into town to see what trouble we can find. :-)

Fireblossom said...

Wow! This is weirdly delightful from start to finish. It's so imaginative and vivid!

I came by way of Vesper's blog. I'm glad I did! :-)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Fireblossom - I'm so glad that you stopped in and I appreciate your leaving such a very kind comment. I hope you will come by again soon. Many thanks! :)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Cat - Well, come on over - we'll see what we can scare up around town. Thanks so much! ^66^

Bob said...

Kaye, amazing work here lately, I spent some time here catching up... don't ever stop writing and posting, ok?

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Bob, thanks so much! I do find it harder, lately, to manage time to blog. But, I will keep on keeping on - albeit sporadically. Always appreciate your comments. :)