Thursday, 11 September 2008

philip levine

A Theory of Prosody

When Nellie, my old pussy
cat, was still in her prime,
she would sit behind me
as I wrote, and when the line
got too long she'd reach
one sudden black foreleg down
and paw at the moving hand,
the offensive one. The first
time she drew blood I learned
it was poetic to end
a line anywhere to keep her
quiet. After all, many morn-
ings she'd gotten to the chair
long before I was even up.
Those nights I couldn't sleep
she'd come and sit in my lap
to calm me. So I figured
I owed her the short cat line.
She's dead now almost nine years,
and before that there was one
during which she faked attention
and I faked obedience.
Isn't that what it's about-
pretending there's an alert cat
who leaves nothing to chance.


Andrew Shields said...

That's a favorite Levine poem of mine!

swiss said...

it's a bit of a classic. i might've followed it up with more cat poems but i've gone a bit astray! lol