Cats – Arthur Tessimond – Comments

Cats

Cats no less liquid than their shadows
Offer no angles to the wind.
They slip, diminished, neat through loopholes
Less than themselves; will not be pinned

To rules or routes for journeys; counter
Attack with non-resistance; twist
Enticing through the curving fingers
And leave an angered empty fist.

They wait obsequious as darkness
Quick to retire, quick to return;
Admit no aim or ethics; flatter
With reservations; will not learn

To answer to their names; are seldom
Truly owned till shot or skinned.
Cats no less liquid than their shadows
Offer no angles to the wind.

Arthur Tessimond

This poem was sent to me by a friend. Looking at the first two lines (and the last two lines) …

Cats no less liquid than their shadows
Offer no angles to the wind.

An interesting way in describing the very nature of the cat as a cat is very much ‘disappearing liquid’ in its movements and you will never find a cat left open to any wayward wind.

This poem must be read to appreciate the soft sibilant sounds so suggestive of the stealth movement of the cat. Words like less, liquid, slip, loopholes involve holding the tongue at the back of the top front teeth. And I’m sure that they do squeeze through spaces much smaller that their bodies. They are known to be very independent and do their own thing without regard for their owner – though I can’t speak first hand on this matter as I have never owned a cat. To what extent they avoid rather than engage I guess dependents on whether they can find appropriate escape when confronted.

To wait obsequious as darkness gives a certain oxymoronic flavour to the likes of hidden attendance in disappearing and reappearing according to disposition. It looks likes training the cat is a difficult proposition – all I can say is perhaps Arthur Tessimond has had firsthand experience with a difficult creature.

An abrupt harsh ending in definition – a cat can only be known when shot or skinned.

The second and fourth lines in each stanza have end-word rhyme. Enjambment at the end of the first and third stanzas follows the liquid flow of the cat text.

Here is a link to Arthur Seymour John Tessimond on Wikipedia.

Your word in my ear ...

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