Monday, March 31, 2014

On a Monday

Cats were popular at our recent Voices and Vision event. Here are three of the images, by Beth Bale,  Vangi Cathcart,  and Marilyn Penrod, respectively, followed by Bonnie Korta's poem.

The Calling of Cats

The naming of cats is the easy part
Lespedeza and Clover, Hay Bale Sisters
rolled out a surprise from some farmer’s sweet bundle
Angelisa, snow white feather fluff
flew in on the day my friend Lisa diedWillow, silver soul, for catkins lush in spring
Miss America star blazing on her head
stripes all over, salute to the red, white, and blue after 9/11

There’s logic, there’s charm to the naming of cats
calling them, a different story altogether
though we’ve been given dominion
over the beasts of the field, the fowls
of the air, by God, in the beginning
over the cats of our hearths, not so much
cats do not bow their heads to us
see themselves still as wild and free
do not like to be owned, bossed, dominated

They come when they damn well please or not at all
so I call to mine in a shrill anxious jitter
“Here kitty, kitty, kitty, KITTY”
desperation pulses in every syllable
if calling fails as it usually does
I resort to begging, hyperbole
Precious Princess Pussy Willow, WILL-Z, Willowicious
my only Willow girl please come home
My husband used to say, in his inimitable way
“If you’d lived in Salem when they burned witches,
I’d hate to think” and he left it at that
my daughter more vocal, “You must drive your neighbors
crazy calling your cats all day, all night long
it’s just so annoying”

When all else fails, I sing, to each her own
theme song, Angelisa to the tune of
Messiah’s Hallelujah Chorus
Angelisa, Angelisa, ANGELISA
for Willow it's “Silly Willy is the girl I love”
to the tune of “Bloody Mary” from South Pacific
for Miss America, its “Bye bye Miss American
Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy” and so on
my daughter covers her ears, pretends
she doesn’t know me
“Shut up Mom, please just shut up”
I wonder how I raised such a proper
child who is more a stranger to me
than cats who do not come when I call

My daughter doesn’t know the sweet relief
I feel when the silver shadow that is
Willow comes up radiant out of the dark
winds her soft iridescence round my ankle
stakes her claim of ownership, not vice versa

My daughter has no idea how my heart
would leap if she would come home, just once
happy to be there, wrap her luminescence
round my neck, claim me as her own
I have never learned the words, the tone the tune
to call my daughter, to call my daughter

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