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Cat Poems

Table of Contents

  1. A Cat Might Sit up in a Tree by Annette Wynne
  2. To a Cat by Algernon Charles Swinburne
  3. Kitty and Mouse by Anonymous
  4. Three Little Kittens by Mother Goose
  5. The White Kitten by Anonymous
  6. The House-Cat by Annette Wynne
  7. Stray Cat by Francis Witham
  8. Milk for the Cat by Harold Monro
  9. The Kitten and the Falling Leaves by William Wordsworth
  10. Sonnet to a Cat by John Keats
  11. To My Five New Kittens by C. W. Shirley Brooks
  12. Sad Memories by C. S. Calverley
  13. In Honor of Taffy Topaz by Christopher Morley
  14. Little Tiger Cat by Annette Wynne
  15. The Little New Pupil by Annette Wynne

  1. A Cat Might Sit up in a Tree

    by Annette Wynne

    A cat might sit up in a tree
    And be as guiltless as could be,
    But if a nest were near, I know
    I should hardly think him so.

  2. To a Cat

    by Algernon Charles Swinburne

    Stately, kindly, lordly friend,
    Here to sit by me, and turn
    Glorious eyes that smile and burn,
    Golden eyes, love's lustrous meed,
    On the golden page I read.

    All your wondrous wealth of hair,
    Dark and fair,
    Silken-shaggy, soft and bright
    As the clouds and beams of night,
    Pays my reverent hand's caress
    Back with friendlier gentleness.

    Dogs may fawn on all and some
    As they come;
    You, a friend of loftier mind,
    Answer friends alone in kind.
    Just your foot upon my hand
    Softly bids it understand.

    Morning round this silent sweet
    Sheds its wealth of gathering light,
    Thrills the gradual clouds with might,
    Changes woodland, orchard, heath,
    Lawn, and garden there beneath.

    Fair and dim they gleamed below:
    Now they glow
    Deep as even your sunbright eyes,
    Fair as even the wakening skies.
    Can it not or can it be
    Now that you give thanks to see?

    May not you rejoice as I,
    Seeing the sky
    Change to heaven revealed, and bid
    Earth reveal the heaven it hid
    All night long from stars and moon,
    Now the sun sets all in tune?

    What within you wakes with day
    Who can say?
    All too little may we tell,
    Friends who like each other well,
    What might haply, if we might,
    Bid us read our lives aright.

    Wild on woodland ways your sires
    Flashed like fires:
    Fair as flame and fierce and fleet
    As with wings on wingless feet
    Shone and sprang your mother, free,
    Bright and brave as wind or sea.

    Free and proud and glad as they,
    Here to-day
    Rests or roams their radiant child,
    Vanquished not, but reconciled,
    Free from curb of aught above
    Save the lovely curb of love.

    Love through dreams of souls divine
    Fain would shine
    Round a dawn whose light and song
    Then should right our mutual wrong —
    Speak, and seal the love-lit law
    Sweet Assisi's seer foresaw.

    Dreams were theirs; yet haply may
    Dawn a day
    When such friends and fellows born,
    Seeing our earth as fair at morn,
    May for wiser love's sake see
    More of heaven's deep heart than we.

  3. Kitty and Mouse

    by Anonymous

    Once there was a little kitty,
    White as the snow;
    In a barn he used to frolic,
    Long time ago.

    In the barn a little mousie
    Ran to and fro;
    For she heard the little kitty,
    Long time ago.

    Two black eyes had little kitty,
    Black as a crow;
    And they spied the little mousie,
    Long time ago.

    Four soft paws had little kitty,
    Paws soft as snow;
    And they caught the little mousie,
    Long time ago.

    Nine pearl teeth had little kitty,
    All in a row;
    And they bit the little mousie,
    Long time ago.

    When the teeth bit little mousie,
    Mousie cried out "Oh!"
    But she slipped away from kitty,
    Long time ago.

  4. Three Little Kittens

    by Mother Goose

    The three little kittens, they lost their mittens,
    And they began to cry,
    "Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear,
    That we have lost our mittens."
    "What! Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens!
    Then you shall have no pie."
    "Meow, meow, meow."
    "Then you shall have no pie."

    The three little kittens, they found their mittens,
    And they began to cry,
    "Oh, mother dear, see here, see here,
    For we have found our mittens."
    "Put on your mittens, you silly kittens,
    And you shall have some pie."
    "Purr, purr, purr,
    Oh, let us have some pie."

    The three little kittens put on their mittens,
    And soon ate up the pie,
    "Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear,
    That we have soiled our mittens."
    "What, soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!"
    Then they began to sigh,
    "Meow, meow, meow,"
    Then they began to sigh.

    The three little kittens, they washed their mittens,
    And hung them out to dry,
    "Oh, mother dear, do you not hear,
    That we have washed our mittens?"
    "What, washed your mittens, then you're good kittens,
    But I smell a rat close by."
    "Meow, meow, meow,
    We smell a rat close by."

  5. The White Kitten

    by Anonymous

    My little white kitten's asleep on my knee;
    As white as the snow or the lilies is she;
    She wakes up with a pur
    When I stroke her soft fur:
    Was there ever another white kitten like her?

    My little white kitten now wants to go out
    And frolic, with no one to watch her about;
    "Little kitten," I say,
    "Just an hour you may stay,
    And be careful in choosing your places to play."

    But night has come down, when I hear a loud "mew;"
    I open the door, and my kitten comes through;
    My white kitten! ah me!
    Can it really be she—
    This ill-looking, beggar-like cat that I see?

    What ugly, gray streaks on her side and her back!
    Her nose, once as pink as a rosebud, is black!
    Oh, I very well know,
    Though she does not say so,
    She has been where white kittens ought never to go.

    If little good children intend to do right,
    If little white kittens would keep themselves white,
    It is needful that they
    Should this counsel obey,
    And be careful in choosing their places to play.

  6. The House-Cat

    by Annette Wynne

    The house cat sits and smiles and sings,
    He knows a lot of secret things!

  7. Stray Cat

    by Francis Witham

    Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
    Has brought you homeless to my gate?
    The gate where once another stood
    To beg for shelter, warmth, and food
    For from that day I ceased to be
    The master of my destiny.

    While he, with purr and velvet paw
    Became within my house the law.
    He scratched the furniture and shed
    And claimed the middle of my bed.

    He ruled in arrogance and pride
    And broke my heart the day he died.
    So if you really think, oh Cat,
    I'd willingly relive all that
    Because you come forlorn and thin
    Well...don't just stand there...Come on in!

  8. Milk for the Cat

    by Harold Monro

    When the tea is brought at five o'clock,
    And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
    The little black cat with bright green eyes
    Is suddenly purring there.

    At first she pretends, having nothing to do,
    She has come in merely to blink by the grate,
    But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour,
    She is never late.

    And presently her agate eyes
    Take a soft large milky haze,
    And her independent casual glance
    Becomes a stiff, hard gaze.

    Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears,
    Or twists her tail and begins to stir,
    Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes
    One breathing, trembling purr.

    The children eat and wriggle and laugh;
    The two old ladies stroke their silk:
    But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
    Transformed to a creeping lust for milk.

    The white saucer like some full moon descends
    At last from the clouds of the table above;
    She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows,
    Transfigured with love.

    She nestles over the shining rim,
    Buries her chin in the creamy sea;
    Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw Is doubled under each bending knee.

    A long, dim ecstasy holds her life;
    Her world is an infinite shapeless white,
    Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop,
    Then she sinks back into the night,

    Draws and dips her body to heap
    Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair,
    Lies defeated and buried deep
    Three or four hours unconscious there.

  9. The Kitten and the Falling Leaves

    by William Wordsworth

    That way look, my infant, lo!
    What a pretty baby-show!
    See the kitten on the wall,
    sporting with the leaves that fall.
    Withered leaves — one — two and three
    from the lofty elder tree.
    Though the calm and frosty air,
    of this morning bright and fair.
    Eddying round and round they sink,
    softly, slowly; one might think.
    From the motions that are made,
    every little leaf conveyed
    Sylph or Faery hither tending,
    to this lower world descending.
    Each invisible and mute,
    in his wavering parachute.

    But the Kitten, how she starts,
    crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!
    First at one, and then its fellow,
    just as light and just as yellow.
    There are many now — now one,
    now they stop and there are none:
    What intenseness of desire,
    in her upward eye of fire!
    With a tiger-leap half-way,
    now she meets the coming prey.
    lets it go as fast, and then;
    Has it in her power again.
    Now she works with three or four,
    like an Indian conjuror;
    quick as he in feats of art,
    far beyond in joy of heart.
    Where her antics played in the eye,
    of a thousand standers-by,
    clapping hands with shout and stare,
    what would little Tabby care!
    For the plaudits of the crowd?
    Over happy to be proud,
    over wealthy in the treasure
    of her exceeding pleasure!

  10. Sonnet to a Cat

    by John Keats

    Cat! who hast pass'd thy grand cliacteric,
    How many mice and rats hast in thy days
    Destroy'd? — How many tit bits stolen? Gaze
    With those bright languid segments green, and prick
    Those velvet ears — but pr'ythee do not stick
    Thy latent talons in me — and upraise
    Thy gentle mew — and tell me all thy frays
    Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick.
    Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists —
    For all the wheezy asthma, — and for all
    Thy tail's tip is nick'd off — and though the fists
    Of many a maid have given thee many a mail,
    Still is that fur as soft as when the lists
    In youth thou enter'dst on glass bottled wall.

  11. To My Five New Kittens

    by C. W. Shirley Brooks

    Soft little beasts, how pleasantly ye lie
    Snuggling and snoozling by your purring sire,
    Mother I mean (but sonnet rhymes require
    A shorter word, and boldly I defy
    Those who would tie the bard by pedant rule).
    O Kittens, you're not thinking, I'll be bound,
    How three of you had yesterday been drowned
    But that my little boy came home from school,
    And begged your lives, though Cook remonstrance made,
    Declaring we were overrun with cats
    That licked her cream-dish and her butter-pats,
    But childhood's pleadings won me, and I said—
    'O Cook, we ll keep the innocents alive;
    They're five, consider, and you've fingers five.'

  12. Sad Memories

    by C. S. Calverley

    They tell me I am beautiful: they praise my silken hair,
    My little feet that silently slip on from stair to stair:
    They praise my pretty trustful face and innocent grey eye;
    Fond hands caress me oftentimes, yet would that I might die!

    Why was I born to be abhorr’d of man and bird and beast?
    The bulfinch marks me stealing by, and straight his song hath ceased;
    The shrewmouse eyes me shudderingly, then flees; and, worse than that,
    The housedog he flees after me—why was I born a cat?

    Men prize the heartless hound who quits dry-eyed his native land;
    Who wags a mercenary tail and licks a tyrant hand.
    The leal true cat they prize not, that if e’er compell’d to roam
    Still flies, when let out of the bag, precipitately home.

    They call me cruel. Do I know if mouse or songbird feels?
    I only know they make me light and salutary meals:
    And if, as ’tis my nature to, ere I devour I tease ’em,
    Why should a low-bred gardener’s boy pursue me with a besom?

    Should china fall or chandeliers, or anything but stocks—
    Nay stocks, when they’re in flowerpots—the cat expects hard knocks:
    Should ever anything be missed—milk, coals, umbrellas, brandy—
    The cat’s pitch’d into with a boot or any thing that’s handy.

    “I remember, I remember,” how one night I “fleeted by,”
    And gain’d the blessed tiles and gazed into the cold clear sky.
    “I remember, I remember, how my little lovers came;”
    And there, beneath the crescent moon, play’d many a little game.

    They fought—by good St. Catharine, ’twas a fearsome sight to see
    The coal-black crest, the glowering orbs, of one gigantic He.
    Like bow by some tall bowman bent at Hastings or Poictiers,
    His huge back curved, till none observed a vestige of his ears:

    He stood, an ebon crescent, flouting that ivory moon;
    Then raised the pibroch of his race, the Song without a Tune;
    Gleam’d his white teeth, his mammoth tail waved darkly to and fro,
    As with one complex yell he burst, all claws, upon the foe.

    It thrills me now, that final Miaow—that weird unearthly din:
    Lone maidens heard it far away, and leap’d out of their skin.
    A potboy from his den o’erhead peep’d with a scared wan face;
    Then sent a random brickbat down, which knock’d me into space.

    Nine days I fell, or thereabouts: and, had we not nine lives,
    I wis I ne’er had seen again thy sausage-shop, St. Ives!
    Had I, as some cats have, nine tails, how gladly I would lick
    The hand, and person generally, of him who heaved that brick!

    For me they fill the milkbowl up, and cull the choice sardine:
    But ah! I nevermore shall be the cat I once have been!
    The memories of that fatal night they haunt me even now:
    In dreams I see that rampant He, and tremble at that Miaow.

  13. In Honor of Taffy

    by Christopher Morley

    Taffy, the topaz-colored cat,
    Thinks now of this and now of that,
    But chiefly of his meals.
    Asparagus, and cream, and fish,
    Are objects of his Freudian wish;
    What you don't give, he steals.

    His gallant heart is strongly stirred
    By clink of plate or flight of bird,
    He has a plumy tail;
    At night he treads on stealthy pad
    As merry as Sir Galahad
    A-seeking of the Grail.

    His amiable amber eyes
    Are very friendly, very wise;
    Like Buddha, grave and fat,
    He sits, regardless of applause,
    And thinking, as he kneads his paws,
    What fun to be a cat!

  14. Little Tiger Cat

    by Annette Wynne

    Little Tiger Cat, with the spotted face,
    Do you think you've found a baby-jungle place?
    Going through the grass, stealthily and slow,
    Are you waiting to jump out and scare the folks you know?
    And send them running to the house as fast as they can go?

    Little Tiger Cat, it's no use at all,
    No matter what you think yourself, you're rather tame and small,
    And with all your hiding and your stern contemplation,
    You cannot scare a single one of high or lowly station,
    And so, there's no use trying to be like your wild relation.

  15. The Little New Pupil

    by Annette Wynne

    Brand new pupil came to school,
    His eyes—how quick and bright!—
    I wonder, will he learn each rule—
    And learn to read and write?

    I hope he'll always wipe his feet
    On coming up the stair,
    And keep his face and garments neat,
    And brush his teeth and hair.

    A brand new pupil came to school,
    I fear he came to play—
    I fear he'll never keep the rule—
    He's but a kitten gray.

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