Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Cat on the Roof OR Heavens Above


As a child (I am 70 now) I was stroking a cat one day, happened to look up and could make out a cloud in the shape of a cat. I asked my mother what a cat was doing in the sky. She told me that cloud is a gauze curtain that takes many shapes through which God can see what we humans are up to on Earth. Rain, she added for good measure, is His tears because he rarely likes what He sees, especially when little boys misbehave.

I was very close to my mother. She was a very Christian woman, and although she was far from being one of those people inclined to inflict their own views on others, her words put me off religion forever if only because I did not like the idea of any God spying on me; nor did I much care for the implied threat that I should behave myself …or else. Even so, her words haunted me for many years as I grappled with various concepts of religion and God, eventually discarding both in favour of nature. Nature would offer the young (gay) man I became, a sense of spirituality that came free, no strings (or dogma) attached yet contained within the organized chaos of a time frame-cum-continuum to which the Muse in me could easily relate.

It took me many more years to even begin to articulate on that offer, but was happy to settle for the warm glow it awoke in me and the subsequent poetry it has never ceased to inspire.

This poem is a villanelle.

PHOTO: from the Internet

CAT ON THE ROOF or HEAVENS ABOVE

Cloud cover
come another dawn
(like cat fur)

All a-shimmer
(a lonely, weepy sun)
cloud cover

Quicksilver
heavens for everyone
(like cat fur)

‘Live’ mirror
(humanity looking in);
cloud cover

Landscape
demanding our attention
(like cat fur)

Fine promises
caught out on the turn?
Cloud cover
like cat fur...

Copyright R. N. Taber 1999; 2016


[Note: revised (2016) from an earlier version that appears in The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004; revised ed.in e-format in preparation.] 

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