Thursday, April 24, 2008

Poem(s) of the Week: The Elder Kitty Poems
Project Green (see photo below poems)

These poems were not written by me but by the late great fur-person, Abigail the Wonder Kitty, also known as the Antique Kitty or the Ancient One (among her many titles). Abby was a teacher to me in many ways, including the gentle nobility with which she left this life at the age of 21 plus. (I wrote a piece about her death at the time for my column on Anyone who is interested can read it here.
This photo was taken in Arizona when she was 19. I think she was quite beautiful. But I digress. In the last six or seven years of her life, Abby found not only her physical voice, but her poetic voice. She was not prolific - she only wrote three poems - but I think she had a thing or two to say. I have chosen to share my two favorite Abby poems today. The sister she refers to in the first poem was my first cat and Abby's life-long companion Katrina, who died at 16 while we still lived in New York. I had intended to post something else today, but something (or perhaps someone) insists on these.


They are who they are
And I am me
Abigail, Elder Kitty
I have no regrets
I have lived my life my way
Kept mostly to myself
Enjoyed the simple pleasures
Of hugs and food and a good brushing,
An afternoon of sleep twined against my sister’s soft purr
Or scrubbed meticulously by her fierce, determined tongue
That was how she finally received me
Those many years ago when we were young –
With a bath –
After she hissed and snarled and acted gruff
But I knew better
Saw at once her tender heart
She’s a little older, you know, and puts on airs sometimes
But mostly you couldn’t ask for a better friend
She’s so smart and sure of herself
I watch in awe sometimes
She and Person are close in a special way
I know I am loved – deeply loved,
But I do not hold the same place in Person’s heart
my sister does
It used to bother me
Once, a long time ago
And not so long ago, really.
It bothers Person
But I have learned, somehow, that it is not against me
It is not that I am loved less
It is that the bond between them is primal,
time-worn across the ages
They have know each other since time began
And I am a new arrival
Now that I understand, I am learning to let the love in
And life is truly grand and blessed
I can no longer jump as high as I once did
But I can still do a good zany run
And now I sing my heart’s content
Loud howls.
Person says it is opera
And sometimes she laughs and smiles at my songs
And sometimes she shouts and acts quite fierce
But she is funny that way.
She snarls so grim and in the next breath
She is all apologies and love
And good, strong tender hugs
And sometimes she sings to me – to us
And tells us all our names
For me there is Dougie and Abby-Dougie,
And Dougal MacDougal, and Wandagail
And Wanda the Wailer and Munchkin
Or Dumpling.
I am also known as Wanda the Wiggler
And Princess Furry Face the Second
And Munchkinetta
The list is long
I like that.
I like my life
I am Abigail the Elder Kitty
And I have found myself at last.
May your lives be as blessed.


I think my person is going deaf
I talk to her at the top of my lungs
And she just doesn’t seem to get it
Perhaps she is just slow in the way these humans are
They are remarkably clever sometimes
And quite the dullards at others
But I digress
Our new home is cold and damp
But I am glad to have the desert behind me
We are on our own again, Person and I,
And it feels good to be free to be ourselves
To have my freedom back is worth a lot
Person tells me that I’m very old
She seems quite obsessed with it
Like age is some kind of talent I possess
Me, I just take things one day at a time
And find what solutions I can to my troubles
It’s a bit embarrassing not to jump so well any more
I used to be quite the leaper once
And now I’m forced to pull myself up most places
Frustrating, I can tell you that - and embarrassing too
But Person roots me on and tells me I can do it
And so I can
You wouldn’t think it would make a difference, really,
But it does
Wanting someone you love to be right
I love snuggling up against her now,
Though I didn’t always – not in the same way, anyhow
I’m not sure sometimes, who is comforting who
And maybe it doesn’t matter
As long as we are both at peace
I speak my mind these days
I’ve given up on being shy
It’s quite a relief, really to just be me.
Age has it’s privileges after all, I guess
And I’m learning that
I’m learning too to enjoy the simple things
A patch of sunlight on the floor
A soft blanket
A tasty meal
And of course the sound of my own voice
Pitched loud enough for all to hear
I am Abigail, Elder Kitty
Hear me roar!

Ever the over achiever, Abigail is mutli-tasking from the great beyond and has entered herself into Anna Carson's Project Green with this photo of herself with her (and my) favorite blanket.


Lara said...

elderly kitties are so talented! and she was beautiful!

Dianne said...

She was beautiful. What an amazing photo of her wrapped in a blanket some kind and wonderful Person must have given her :)

But the poems killed me - it was as if every kitten I have ever loved (there are many) was talking to me.

You are such a Person Raven.

Carletta said...

How beautiful - kitty and poems!
I agree with Dianne - every cat I've ever loved and still love comes to mind as I read.

Melli said...

Abigail, Elder Kitty, sounds very WISE indeed... and well she should be at age 21! It's not often you hear of kitties making it THAT long! She really DID have a LOT of time to ponder the world. And a mighty snuggly blanket to ponder it on. :)