Manny's Reviews > Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse

Poetry for Cats by Henry N. Beard
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's review
Dec 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: well-i-think-its-funny, why-not-call-it-poetry
Recommended for: People who like cats and poetry
Read on December 27, 2011

Earlier today, we were walking past one of the open-air bookstalls on Rue de la Marché when I noticed a second-hand copy of this book. It opened naturally at the following poem, which I liked so much that I immediately had to read it aloud:
Kubla Kat
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Cat

In Xanadu did Kubla Kat
A splendid sofa-bed decree
With silken cushions soft and fat
A perfect feline habitat
Set on a gilt settee.
And twice ten yards of fine brocade
The golden ottoman arrayed:
And there were pillows packed with airy down
Hand-plucked from sacred swans in Thessaly;
And lace draped from a massive silver crown
Adorned the ornate rosewood canopy.

And ah! that seat effused a potent lotion
Pressed from the leaves of rare hypnotic herbs
Sweet source of wondrous dreams that naught disturbs.
Oh magic mint! Sublime and blissful potion!
The fragrance of that place of slumber
Floated on the balmy breeze
Drawing kittens without number:
Persians, Manx, and Siamese.
It was a miracle of opulence,
A shining sofa-bed with catnip scents!

A songbird with a small guitar
In a vision I once did note:
It was a wise and winsome owl,
Sitting in a pea-green boat,
Singing a song to me,
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
We danced by the light of the moon.

And when I arose from my languorous swoon
I build that divine divan,
That cushy couch! that smell of spice!
And all who saw should stop and yawn,
And none would cry, Get Down! Begone!
The lights are dimmed, the curtains drawn.
Tiptoe round him, still as mice,
And let him catnap on his bed,
For he on catnip leaves has fed,
And lapped the milk of Paradise.
The others weren't quite as fine, though I also recommend To a Vase, by Elisabeth Barrett Browning's cat, Abyssinias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley's cat and The Love Song of J. Morris Housecat, by T.S. Eliot's cat. The last of these, in particular, incorporates a fine quotation in 14th century cat Italian from Dante's cat:
M'io muoiano muole miù
miei ma miogni noi parlamiaou
muoi m'uomi ne più
miolo muoiano mio siamiaou
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard A "must purruse" for any cat-lover!

Manny Fur sure!

message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard I'm just waiting for Beard's mewsical, The Manx of La Mancha.

Manny There's one of those in The Cat's Tale, by Chaucer's Cat:
A Cat there was, a gentil taillees Manx,
Our Hoste hadde seen astray on Thames banks
And taken home to ridden him of rats
At whiche she preved to been the beste of cats...

message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Manny wrote: "There's one of those in The Cat's Tale, by Chaucer's Cat:A Cat there was, a gentil taillees Manx,
Our Hoste hadde seen astray on Thames banks
And taken home to ridden him of rats
At whiche she prev..."

The breed is mentioned in Kubla Kat--that's what gave me the idea. But I love the Cat's Tail Tale too. Seriously though, there are some interesting folktales about the Manx.

message 6: by Grace (new)

Grace Tjan Purr-fect! Is that one of the poems in the book or is it your own?

Manny I wish I could have written this - it's taken from the book. Other gems include Territory Lost by John Milton's cat, Vet Be Not Proud by John Donne's cat and She Walks in Booties by Lord Byron's cat.

message 8: by Richard (last edited Dec 29, 2011 12:13AM) (new)

Richard Please tell me there isn't one called "A Tail of Two Kitties" or I might have to scratch my eyes out! (Besides which, it's already the title of a very bad movie.)

Manny There is no Tail of Two Kitties - that would be inappropriate in a poetry anthology! For more bad puns on that title, you may want to consult Monty Python's bookshop sketch...

message 10: by Brad (new)

Brad C'mon, Manny, admit it: you wrote Kubla Kat.

message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard Brad wrote: "C'mon, Manny, admit it: you wrote Kubla Kat."

He's probably practicing for the next round of Celebrity Death Match Reviews.

message 12: by Manny (last edited Dec 29, 2011 08:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manny If only! I know it looks suspicious, given that I've already published one parodic poem dedicated to Kat, but that's a pure coincidence.

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