Last of the cat poems


The feral cat

Fresh blood dripping from your snarling mouth
your shoulders bunched, spine high-arched
you glared angrily at me as I drove past in my car.

Icon of primeval hunter, you crouched by the roadside
teeth burgeoning in crushing, crunching jaws
tearing flesh from a fresh-killed victim with razor claws.

Boldness imaged your new freedom
in an expanding heart that lusted
solely to hunt ... stalk ... kill prey.

You are growing wiser
stronger ... faster ... wilder.

But no-one seems to care as you accelerate
the ethnic cleansing of endangered species.

Man captured you four millennia ago
then genetically re-programmed you
to be a Temple guardian.

Once a feared predator, Woman softened you
to become a furry thing that purrs
then silent, sits upright in windows.

With fresh blood in your mouth you are no longer CAT
house-trained to please, now you kill wantonly
revel in the fear you invoke in others.

In this wide, old land filled with soft-skin fauna you wait
brutalising towards your earlier shape where unfenced
National Parks provide a space to kill, free you to become.

Man was created, just like you to run free in the killing-fields
called 'War', where we can become unrepentant predators?

Is this what God meant you to be?
To revert to what you once were?

As we lust for more power and grow wiser, stronger
faster, wilder and less inhibited, do we revert like you
and not redeem the better qualities of soul we aspire?

Karl H. Cameron-Jackson

Last of the cat poems

Please, not another cat poem
no more couplets for cuddly companions
unless to recount the leftover birds which litter the lawn
whilst puss sits inside with blood on his claws
and purrs satisfaction

I plead with you desist from that paean to pussy palship
save to summon up that stench in the yard
which neighbourhood moggies love to bombard
with tom spray and cat shit

I beg of you no more veneration of feline affection
but to catalogue each Australian creature
which through cat predation wobbles and teeters
on the edge of extinction

I implore you, no more tributes to Tabby Tom and Persian Cleo
except to decry the midnight caterwauling
the screeches, the wails, the quarrels appalling
below my bedroom window

Not more T. S. Eliot like whimsical narration
unless to promote the wearing of flat cat hats
with fur flaps and tails which help to combat
the proliferating kitty population

No, no not even a moggie haiku
until we bid the last cat in Australia farewell
with a tolling not a tinkling bell
a ding dong dell
an obituary, a eulogy, a remembrance will do

Mike Hopkins

Karl Cameron-JacksonKarl H. Cameron-Jackson is 76 and lives in Adelaide with his wife Frances. He first attended Adelaide University in 1996 and in 2004 completed a PhD in creative writing. He has had poems published in a number of journals/anthologies on a wide range of topics. 


Mike HopkinsMike Hopkins lives in Adelaide, writes poetry, competes in poetry slams and scrapes a living as a business analyst. His first collection was published in Friendly Street - New Poets 16 (Wakefield Press) in 2011. He blogs.

Topic tags: new australian poems, Karl Cameron-Jackson, Mike Hopkins, cats



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Existing comments

I believe it was the eminent American W.C. Fields who remarked that cats are why God invented handguns, heh heh heh.
brian doyle | 06 March 2012

I have often wondered why in creation God made cats!
john frawley | 06 March 2012

I guess we would liken the arrival of feral cats to Australia to white settlement - except cats are purely instinctual and don't have a conscience to guide their destructive urges.
AURELIUS | 06 March 2012

This sort of thing just sickens me. Were there a higher being than humans, just think of how we would be brought to account! You can't blame animals for being what they are. Feral cats are a human responsibility, as are camels and rats and toads and everything else which seemed like a good idea at the time.
Carmel Robinson | 06 March 2012

Cats on the rooftop Cats with style Cats with their whiskers wreathed in smiles Cats with their PhD's all the while As they revel in the joys of recitation
Claude Rigney | 07 March 2012


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