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For all those cat people

I have to share this wonderful poem, which I was given in a lecture today. I'm not naturally a cat person, but living with two cats has won me over. This is a part of a poem called Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart, a man who wrote it while incarcerated in Bedlam for insanity (or what we would call a mental breakdown). Without further ado:

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.



This last line is the best ever.

Comments

Ian Wolcott said…
That's really wonderful. I married into a cat and was only slowly won over too. On Mt Athos the only female things allowed are cats. (It's a disgrace, I know, but it says something maybe about cats).
Erin said…
I think it's the last two lines! Thanks for this...much needed today.
Annie Tietje said…
I love this poem!! Thank you for sharing. I intend to go home and read it to my cats. They will likely look at me like I'm insane. ^_^

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