I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

A Pause For A Poem


I watch her rolling on the parquet,
her feline pleasure uncoiled, rattling
beneath a palm on her royal markings.
But how I wish we could share a smile,
just a smudge of a grin, without the
need for the tweaking of whiskers.

Did she once have this gift but then
decided on subtlety?

Why for the sake of heaven do I
hanker for such a sign? To bury my
guilt about her quasi-imprisonment?
Because I’ve denied her the joy
of prising the head off a rodent,
or a hapless bird she’s courted?

Please, have mercy. Tell me I’m not
her terrible jailer.

If canines and apes can achieve it,
is it too much of a leap to frame her
laughing behind an excited tongue?
Surely it’s the natural step from the
diving and arching between my feet,
the motherly licking of my skin.

What did our forefathers make of
this absence of a smile?

Maybe she simpers in the night, when
the fire’s out and her life is being
contemplated: unbroken sleep, an easy
hunt, the reassurance of domestic
safety. But what rustles in her dreams?
Instincts we’ve dashed? Her family?

I guess I need more faith in those who
say she really is content.

© Copyright, 2008. Seamus Kearney.

(The photo that goes with this poem is a shot of Miss Muffin, our adorable Siamese cat. She was so well behaved, staying perfectly still while I focused!)


aims said...

Seamus - you have captured the antics of cats perfectly! And our wish to see them smile.

Yesterday I wondered if my cat was smiling at me...strange isn't it?

With dogs it is different..that tail wagging and all that goofiness. But cats are so majestic - and how we do crave their love!

I love your father's saying!! Love it!

Glad you are back!!

virtual nexus said...

Just lovely. Glad to hear you are back in business on the internet. We had a severed phone cable some years ago and it took twelve weeks and eight teams of mechanics to find the break. We changed back to our old service provider who was unreliably reliable.

WH said...

They are mysterious from the dawn of history. Needy yet aloof. A puzzling contrast are they (I sound like Yoda.). Great poem on this theme, Seamus.

S. Kearney said...

Aims - Yes, the smiling thing is something I often wonder about.
:-) I have never seen a cat really smile, even though I know some people swear that their cat does.

Julie - Thanks. Yes, what a relief to be back in the loop. I felt like I had rewound my life 20 years. Having no internet is like not having a letter box. lol

Billy - Thank you. Yes, I'm so fascinated by cats, and their closeness yet distance re humans. Those eyes are smiling, someone just emailed me to say! :-)

Lane Mathias said...

Miss Muffin is an absolute beauty. Look at those eyes!

Cats are so intruiging. Mine moves calmly in his stately fashion around the dogs, never ruffled, always so sure of himself. He knows (like your poem suggests) far more than he ever lets on. I've never seen him smile but has a very wry look sometimes.

I enjoyed your peom very much:-)

Jon M said...

Really thought provoking Seamus. It is strange how we get used to cartoon cats with smiles but actually, they never do. Going to tell my fatcat a few jokes...mind you nobody laughs at my jokes anyway...

S. Kearney said...

Lane - I will pass on your compliments to Miss Muffin. She will be be thrilled. (I haven't told her yet that she's made her world debut! She'll demand all sorts of perks.) lol

Jon - As long as the cat doesn't cry and scream when you tell your jokes! lol

Sarah Hina said...

I love this line: is it too much of a leap to frame her
laughing behind an excited tongue?
. Oh, yes.

Their seeming indifference and haughtiness is a velvet mystery, but when we scratch them between the ears, we know they tolerate, and even like, us. I suppose it has to be enough. ;)

S. Kearney said...

Sarah - Thank you! Yep, we have to just trust that they are OK with the life we squeeze them into. :-)

Leslie Hawes said...

I always thought the suave exterior was a foil for the fact that every time we left them alone, they would make a sandwich, grab a beer from the fridge, and warm up the couch while channel surfing...

Marja said...

Hi Seamus just hop by to see how you are doing I enjoyed this, but don't wait for the smile of a cat. Scientists call these species autistic spots. Have a nice day in the beautiful France.

S. Kearney said...

Leslie - Hahaha. You are probably right! I just wish she'd do a bit of housework while she was at it! :-) lol

Marja - Thank you. No, I fear that I will never see that day of the smile. I will just have to be content with the purrrrsssss. :-)

Chris Eldin said...

Welcome back!

You did catch the true spirit of the feline.
She's very beautiful too. I miss having a cat around the house.

S. Kearney said...

Christine - Thanks! Yes, a home without a cat ... I went for years without one, and wonder now how it was possible! lol :-)