Friday, September 30, 2016

Silent Companion

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.
~Ernest Hemingway



Sharing another old poem today. Thanks for humoring me while I raid the archives! Actually, this poem was never on my blog -- Margaret shared it at Reflections on the Teche because I wrote it for her (and her cat Mimi).

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT EMMA
by Tabatha Yeatts
with thanks to W.S.
for M.S. and E.


I
The tail moved
always —
before,
during,
and after.
There was never a time
the tail’s journey was over.

II
The cat’s nose
in the dog’s ear —
whispering love poems
with her whiskers.

III
Anything can be hidden
on the ceiling.
No one looks up.
Except the cat.

IV
The cat walks across the board game.
The whims of fate
cast furry shadows.

V
Only the spiral circles
of pacing and waiting
can express the longing
the scent of chicken
incites.

VI
The cat’s bones
ripple
like a pebble
dropped
in a water dish.

VII
Sleeping upright,
paws hidden,
tail delicately curving
around her side,
the memory of deity
remains.

VIII
The cat,
guardian, silent companion,
desires to be close to the rabbit,
as the tree guards the moss,
as the leaf guards the air,
as the earth guards the moon.

IX
A plane can take you far from the world,
but a cat can always bring you to it.

X
The cat discerns the approaching rain,
spins, and returns so adroitly
you might never imagine
that was not her original direction.

XI
Next to the cat,
the man sneezes.
The cat licks her side.

XII
One cat stalks a darting fly.
Her sister leaves her sleeping post
only to find another.

XIII
Shadows fall around the cat,
the icy gray fingers of age ruffle her fur;
the cat gets up
and moves.

Emma passed away in 2014, about a year after this poem was written.

Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Karen!

13 comments:

katswhiskers said...

Having lost our JontyPuppy earlier this year, I can well imagine how special this collection is now. Moments in time. I stumbled on some Jonty poems today - and definitely still miss him. But can also appreciate anew what a joyful companion he was. Thankful for those poems! Also, I could so steal that first poem for our SavvyCat!

jama said...

Love love love this one, Tabatha. Don't remember seeing it before. What perfectly observed moments.

tanita✿davis said...

Oh, I LOVE variations on this "13 Ways" thing, and supporting a friend through the loss of her cat of seventeen years, I know just where to send her today. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Truly, I love this poem, Tabatha. Each of the ways holds it's own nugget of feline wisdom.

But this...

VI
The cat’s bones
ripple
like a pebble
dropped
in a water dish.

This is what I call poetic brilliance.

Linda B said...

I'm sorry you've said goodbye to Emma, but written so wonderfully about her. My daughter's dear oldest cat just died this week. I will share this with her & I know she will love it, Tabatha. They always say a cat has nine lives, but I think that means simply that they show beautiful personalities at different times. Love "the scent of chicken/incites.? I'm glad you pulled from the archives!

Jane @ Raincity Librarian said...

A beautiful celebration of a feline member of the family, which is what cats so often are - loved and cherished, even when they drive us batty...

Violet Nesdoly said...

What Jama said. You've obviously lived closely, watched, and loved your cat. Many lovely parts to this ode. I especially enjoyed II and X.

Mary Lee said...

Every single observation is so so true. Spot on. If the poem could twitch its tail, it would.

Diane Mayr said...

How can I not love a cat poem? This one, though, is especially rich. It has been a sad few weeks. Two of my friends lost their dogs within a week of each other. Peace to everyone and their fur friends.

Donna Smith said...

Oh, I love, love cats and cat poems. Noah will love having me read these to him. He will see himself in the board games one - though he prefers to walk across my keyboard and order things from Amazon.
PS - I did put the video on my post. Thanks for suggesting it - it was a fun thing to try to read all in one fell swoop!

Mitchell Linda said...

Gosh, I love the way you see things. Wonderful, wonderful words that capture an animal that prides itself on being elusive. Bravo. More from the archives!

Brenda Harsham said...

Wonderful poem. Makes me miss my cat horribly. How heavy he was on my knee.

Pop said...

Absolutely wonderful poem, Tabatha. And I agree that VI is just about perfect.

(We have four cats and though they all have different personalities, they are all the same at base...and you describe them beautifully.)