Monday, 19 February 2007

More Cat Stuff

I am very fond of this poem... I used to know it off by heart, but alas, no more! However, I think, given the profusion of cat posts popping up everywhere (Northern Cleric started it, Simon Peter joined the fray and Stephen Wikner made up an unholy trinity), that it is time to resurrect Eliot's classic...

The naming of cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm 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 is 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 rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought,
of the thought of his name:
His ineffable, effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.


UPDATE: Histor has been Wise enough to jump on the cat-bandwagon, and has posted another great cat poem (though I respectfully disagree that it is the greatest of all cat poems, obviously, else why would I have posted the above?)

FURTHER UPDATE: The Roving Medievalist has contributed another cat poem written by a 9th Century Irish Monk...

5 comments:

Stephen Wikner said...

Unholy trinity forsooth! Actually in my case it's pretty appropriate - the 'unholy' bit, I mean and, as it happens in relation to something I'm busy with at the moment. I've been asked to speak at a Women's World Day of Prayer service here in Ely at the end of next week and I shall be offering some thoughts on one of the readings which is from the 18th Chapter of the Book of Genesis. It's the wonderfully ambiguous passage where Abraham encounters three 'men' at the Oak of Mamre, one of whom turns out to be the Lord or Yahweh. Iconographers down the ages, have depicted the three as angels whose interaction at table suggests an archetype of the relationship of the Holy Trinity. I will suggest a link between the welcome Abraham affords his guests and the instruction given at the opening of Chapter 53 of the Rule of St Benedict which instructs the community to welcome as Christ all guests who present themselves at the monastery.

Stephen Wikner said...

PS How do you get your cat pictures to move? As you've probably gathered, I'm a bit of a novice at the blog game.

Mac McLernon said...

Unfortunately I am not as talented as all that... they're not "my" pictures... I found them via Google.

Moving images are .gif files, and Blogger luckily supports them, so you can upload them in the same way you upload other photos and clipart.

Jeffrey Smith said...

Every day is cat day, as far as I'm concerned. I just posted the poem a 9th century Irish monk wrote about his cat.

Simon-Peter said...

There are even more kitties lurking chez hard drive...not sure when I'll let them out to terrorize the humans. Maybe after Lent.

Maybe sooner.

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