Introduction to the Art of Feline Poetry
by Laura Ann Walton
Not all cats are poets, just as not all humans are poets. It has been my privilege or with the past 77 years to meet and work with three brilliant cat poets. Here I will present a poem by Red Boy. Additional posts will introduce you to Skip and Bonnet.
red boy was an adult feral cat when he came into our lives. He was king of east Sacramento, or so he thought. One day we noticed he had a battle wound which needed attention. We got him to the vet who patched him up. When we got him home, we put him in the bathroom with the door shut so he could begin his recovery in peace away from the other felines in the house. We were apprehensive about opening the door. Would tear out of there in a feral frenzy, snarling and growling, ready to rip us to shreds? Imagine our surprise and delight when we saw him lying on his back in the windowsill, paws in the air, letting the summer breeze ruffle his white tummy fur. He became our big yellow teddy bear, who loved to lounge around on windowsills, the backs of recliners, and above all, human laps.
One day, when I was working at my computer, red boy jumped up and walked across the keyboard leaving an intriguing line of text. Knowing at once that it was a poem, I saved the document and spent months translating and editing this poem into English. I included it in a book of my own poetry and created a collage to go with it. Over the years I’ve read it numerous times as my introductory poem at readings and it is a fan favorite. Here is the poem:
By Red Boy Bazooka the Husband
Trans., Laura Ann
red cat’s toes like berry nips
into a nipple
light winds tail among
yellow flowers drowse
with half closed eyes under the sun
tongue tip trill on
the roof of your mouth
he walks on four cheek drums
dust pink tongue hymns
this is hnmmmmmm
rest is lips on skin
mouth against belly laughs
intimate sigh asleep beside the beloved
body turns on silk/sound of this
sends you to deeper dream
under butter warm fur undulating against cheek bones
until the lips utter:
spontaneous fire/other Wake up!
Note on craft
Red boy’s poem is full of erotic, sensual detail revealing the soul of the writer. The surprise ending occurs with the sound of /yu and the command wake up! This is a mystic poem about how beauty and pleasure can lead to spiritual awakening –
and only a true Cat who happens to be a Poet could express such wisdom – and all in one word with only one vowel.