A list of poems about cats to get you ready for the book-of-poems-turned-musical-turned-nightmarish-film called Cats? Oh yes.
For those not in the loop, the musical Cats was originally inspired by a short book of cat poems written by T.S. Eliot. Did actors and actresses walk around the stage wearing cat costumes? Yes. Has the musical become both a theatrical classic and a joke? You bet.
And now, with the film premiering in the United States in but a few days, should we be ready for an uncanny valley nightmare? Yes.
Am I still going to go watch it?
…Yeah. Yeah, I am.
And am I going to use this film’s premiere as an excuse to share five poems about cats?
Here are five poems about cats for your reading consumption.
1. “The Cat and The Moon” by W.B. Yeats
image via teepublic
The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn. [read more]
2. “February” by Margaret Atwood
image via animalwised
3. “Les chats” or “cats” by Charles Baudelaire (translation by william aggeler)
image via bookriot
Both ardent lovers and austere scholars
Love in their mature years
The strong and gentle cats, pride of the house,
Who like them are sedentary and sensitive to cold.
Friends of learning and sensual pleasure,
They seek the silence and the horror of darkness;
Erebus would have used them as his gloomy steeds:
If their pride could let them stoop to bondage. [read more]
4. “The cats will know” by cesare Pavese (translation by geoffrey brock)
image via pinterest
5. “The Naming of Cats” by t.s. Eliot
image via Brain pickings
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo, or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names,
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum—
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular name.
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