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31.3.05

a delightful li'l po'm by T. S. Eliot

An excerpt from:

The Ad-dressing of Cats
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.

For some are sane and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse
But all may be described in verse.

You've seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
But How would you ad-dress a Cat?

So first, your memory I'll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.

Now Dogs pretend they like to fight;
They often bark, more seldom bite;
But yet a Dog is, on the whole,
What you would call a simple soul.
Of course I'm not including Pekes,
And such fantastic canine freaks.

The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown,
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.

He's very easily taken in
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He's such an easy-going lout,
He'll answer any hail or shout.

Again I must remind you that
A Dog's a Dog - A CAT'S A CAT.

With Cats, some say, one rule is true:
Don't speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that
I say, you should ad-dress a Cat.

But always keep in mind that he
Resents familiarity.
I bow, and taking off my hat,
Ad-dress him in this form: O CAT!

But if he is the Cat next door,
Whom I have often met before
(He comes to see me in my flat)
I greet him with an OOPSA CAT!
I've heard them call him James Buz-James
But we've not got so far as names.

Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste
He's sure to have his personal taste.

(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he's finished, licks his paws
So's not to waste the onion sauce.)

A Cat's entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.


So this is this, and that is that:
And there's how you AD-DRESS A CAT.
[From: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
By: T. S. Eliot]


Trivia: 'Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats' is the inspiration for 'Cats', the longest running broadway musical.

4 comments:

aj said...

Obligatory Question: When are you getting one?

Elf said...

I loved the poem. I agree ACts are more proud, snobbish and not for anybody who looks for free love...

btw, I know abt the cats broadway musical because of ' Caroline in the City'...

Manish Bhatt said...

aj: A cat, you mean? Dude, I already have one in Dun. I call it Batman, 'cos his face resembles that of the caped crusader (with mask n' all). It's spots resemble those of Sylvester (from Looney Tunes).

elf: Thanx! I love it as well. Here's some more for you.
http://coral.lili.uni-bielefeld.de/Classes/Summer97/SemGS/WebLex/OldPossum/oldpossumlex/oldpossumlex.html

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