Tuesday Poem: ‘The Language of Cat’

The Language of Cat
by Rachel Rooney

Teach me the language of Cat;
the slow-motion blink, that crystal stare,
a tight-lipped purr and a wide-mouthed hiss.
Let me walk with a saunter, nose in the air.

Teach my ears the way to ignore
names that I’m called. May they only twitch
to the distant shake of a boxful of biscuits,
the clink of a fork on a china dish.

Teach me that vanishing trick
where dents in cushions appear, and I’m missed.
Show me the high-wire trip along fences
to hideaway places, that no-one but me knows exist.

Don’t teach me Dog,
all eager to please; that slobbers, yaps and begs for a pat,
that sits when told by its owner, that’s led on a lead.
No, not that. Teach me the language of Cat.

I’ve only recently encountered Rachel Rooney’s poetry, and it’s been such a pleasure to do that. She has a distinctively cool simplicity of style – such apparently artless artfulness – and her poems are a delight. This one, especially, stays with me because of the amusement value of its precise imagery, and because my attitude towards cats is one of envy and admiration: they’re anarchists, as someone once said, but you can’t help loving them.

This poem comes from her new collection of the same name: ‘The Language of Cat’, published last month by Frances Lincoln – here’s the link to their web page. As you’ll see the collection is intended for children, but don’t let that stop you if you aren’t one – the poems are a delight at any age, I’d say.

Good cover, too. And my thanks to Rachel, and to her publisher, for permission to use this poem here.

You might like to visit the Tuesday Poem blogspot and see what poems the other members have posted this week (and no, it’s not too early in the week to be doing that, and yes, I do know it’s Monday today – but it’s Tuesday in New Zealand where the page originates, although the contributors are based all over the world). Go on, have a look why don’t you?

3 Responses to “Tuesday Poem: ‘The Language of Cat’”

  1. alicia ponder Says:

    I love this poem – no doubt because it was intended for children – it’s just so wonderfully cat.

  2. mary mccallum Says:

    Lovely Belinda! I recommended your poem to T Clear who has a new kitten – photo up on blog. M xx

  3. admin Says:

    So glad you both enjoyed this. I’m not really sure about the validity of the label “for children” – this poem really speaks to me as an adult reader.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.