jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Time to Keep the Cat In

This poem is in response to this week's Poetry Thursday prompt: time. It has me feeling both happy and sad. I am pleased that the muse visited me at 12:22 am recently. Pleased, actually, that she visited me at all, since I have been in a bit of a writing slump, of late. And, pleased, I should say, with myself for actually turning on the light, grabbing my journal and a pencil, and writing down what was so obviously a gift from the writing fairy.

However, I am not pleased with myself for not rushing up out of bed, flinging the door open, running around the yard, and scaring that darn cat so he would drop the mouse (which turned out to be a mole--the third in a series). If I wasn't so tired. If I wasn't in the middle of a nasty, nasty summer virus. (Who knew you could get a virus in the summer?)

I know. If I had gotten up, the cat probably would have left the mole maimed and suffering, only to return the minute I went back to bed. I know. If I had gotten up, I never would have recorded my poem. But killing for art? That is so not me.

Sometimes, I find it hard to be a cat owner. Anyway, thanks for reading!

Time of Death: 12: 24 AM

As I lay me down to sleep, I heard chirping,
a squeaking really, given the hour,
and the bedtimes of birds,
an insistent, repeating squeaking, fighting
to be heard above the cicadas constant hum,
and the slow steady breath
of my husband’s nightly tune.
The white cat had a mouse.
What at first sounded like bed springs groaning,
the four-year-old rolling over,
maybe, or lovers next door, windows open wide,
crescendoed, grew into mouse shrieking
for his life. Oh cat, your killing
is going to wake the children.

I wanted to cover my ears, slide
closer to my husband’s open mouth
drown out the cries with the warm rhythm
of sleep, but I was tired,
too tired to move,
as caught in the first stirrings of sleep
as the mouse was surely caught in the cat’s
front teeth. Poor mouse.
After which late-night feeding,
which local morning-news
random shooting, which war,
did I become a believer
in that weary, old cliché?
There was nothing you could have done.
Then, as suddenly as it began, the squeaking
quieted to a distant note,
faded into the cicadas silvery lullaby.

Tomorrow morning I will give the cat
a round of thunderous applause.
It’s what good cat owners are supposed to do.


Blogger deirdre said...

Wow. That was a call to awareness. This is a stunning poem.

2:15 AM  
Blogger twitches said...

This is really really good - so much to love about it, so many great lines:

"the bedtimes of birds,"

"Oh cat, your killing
is going to wake the children."

-just to name a few.

And cats are predators, and they simply must kill. It's what they do. The mouse, in all his screeching, probably knew this.

I have a poem I wrote about this same exact thing - trying to stop my cat from killing a bird. But I could never bring it to a successful conclusion as you've done here.

8:01 AM  
Blogger wendylou who? said...

We have foxes. And they catch bunnies. I always hate the predator(sorry). I feel rage! I yell out my window. I have been known to cry. It scares and makes me so mad I could get a gun...Then I'd be the predator? Death is hard, no matter how small.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Paul Decelles said...

This is wonderful...give the cat a treat!

9:23 PM  
Blogger BessieSnickers said...

These are some truly evocative couple of lines: "as caught in the first stirrings of sleep
as the mouse was surely caught in the cat’s
front teeth. Poor mouse. " Poor mouse, indeed. Great poem!

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh cat, your killing is going to wake the children!

Jill, that's great. in the desperate, sleepy hours, i will let almost anything slide as long as it lets me go back to sleep!

9:19 PM  
Blogger January said...

Oooh! This is really good. Love, love, love the title. From the opening line on down--what a fluid poem from you and your midnight muse.

9:47 PM  

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