Ode to a cat

This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.

For those of you who inquired after him, my darling old cat Lou Reid (not the musician, but a decidedly non-musical feline), has passed on to the big comfy armchair in the sky. He was fifteen, and lived a good literary life. I’m sure he’s off chewing book covers, strolling on laptop keyboards, and resting himself on important papers somewhere, as these were his most favorite things to do.

Thanks to reader dylan for sending along as comfort this prose poem by Canadian poet Anne Carson. Neither of is sure exactly where the line breaks go if there are any, so my apologies for posting this in possibly irregular or incorrect fashion, but it’s lovely regardless.

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. Swimming.

Small white bundles of mist are hurrying over the still surface of the lake. I wonder why I don’t dream anymore, the swimmer is thinking as he inserts himself into the dark green glass. There were times he used
to dream a lot. Now the nights are blank, except for intervals when he rises to look at the lake.

And then behind his back he can feel the cat wake and observe him from its lit eyes. Not lifting its head. It is a very old cat (a gift from his brother) and seems to be dying. Before they go back to sleep he gives the cat a drink from a teacup of water in which he has dissolved some drops of honey. It eats little solid food nowadays but dreams well at night, so far as he can judge from its mutters and tiny thrashings.

What unaccountable longings and hidden fears are swimming on fire in you? he wonders as he leans on his bed in the dark watching the small fur body. Almost everything physiologists know about the living brain
has been learned from sleeping cats. Sleeping or waking, cat brains most resemble human brains in design. Cat neurons fire as intensely as human neurons, whether bombarded from without or from within. Lightly,
lightly he touches its head where the suffering bones come haunting through old flesh. A glow enters his fingers, as if it were a pearl dreaming.


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