Requiem for a cat

Requiem for a cat

30 November 2008

(for Dan)

you played
you struck
a pingpong ball
so it ricocheted
around three skirting boards

how much we
admired you
how much we laughed

you travelled
we never knew
for certain where
and one Christmas Day
we thought you’d gone
but
we saw from a high window
as dusk fell
at half past three
you trotting down the long garden
then up     up     up
on to a glass roof
and in
and home again

you hid
in airing cupboards
every winter

you slept (once)
all paws up
(we showed you off)

you climbed
you leapt
you sat like Lord Muck
in the garden
on summer evenings
or on garage rafters
(what are you doing up there
you silly cat?)

you killed
sometimes
mice from the garage
and baby birds
from the tall green trees

you sulked
when it rained
you chomped
sucked at milk
you climbed stairs    tired
and trotted
down
down
down
when you heard
the sound of fork on dish

you jumped
on to the laps of strangers
(ah! they said)
and settled
this paw
that paw
this paw
that paw

you coped
at different places
cat kennels
new homes

and then you slowed
downold
boyslowly
youslowed
down
slowed down

all this you did
because you were
God’s cat

but you were ours too

and Dan and I
on Sunday
buried you
in the little garden
of the house
where you were born

‘our lovely cat’
(touchinglightly
For the last time)

your fur


from <i>Here Comes the Poetry Man</i> (Salt, 2011), © Fred Sedgwick 2011, used by permission of the author

Books by Fred Sedgwick