Your Friday Art Cat is Poetic

A bundle of grace and fur, a cat makes the purrfect subject for many a poem. I’ve often been interested how writers depict cats of all sizes. William Blake’s Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright, or, The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear are two of my favorites because they capture the feline essence both physically, and symbolically.

Drawing of a tiger and a tabby cat.
A page from my sketchbook where I was thinking about the relatedness of cats.

It’s also easy to see how much my domestic cats are like their larger, more fierce and dramatic, cousins, as exemplified in this poem by J.R.R. Tolkien.

CAT
The fat cat on the mat
   may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
   for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
   walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
   roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
   or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
   and tender men.

The giant lion with iron
   claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
   in gory jaw;
the pard,[note 1] dark-starred,
   fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
   leaps on his meat
where woods loom in gloom–
   far now they be,
   fierce and free,
   and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
   kept as a pet,
   he does not forget.

If you’re a Tolkien fan and want more information about this poem and its origins, you can find it here at the Tolkien Gateway.

For more fun art and stories about my cats, please visit me at Art is Not for Sissies.

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