(From the forthcoming “The Poems of Edwin Plant”)
When life’s harsh, gruelling, grinding pace
Wears away my personal space.
And strain shows clear upon my face.
I crave a little feline grace.
A cat’s demands are simple, few.
He lets you know what you must do.
“Let me in/out” and “Feed me!” too.
And in return he’ll offer you…
Well, nothing, if the truth is told.
Your payment, neither love nor gold.
A cat may warm as he grows old,
But in youth’s bloom, his heart is cold.
So, what appeal, this silent sage?
How does cold heart soothe injured rage
From battling this baffling age?
Why care, without receipt of wage?
(Now I pause, regard my pen.
I think I’ve found the words, and then…
They’re gone. I falter, once again.
I take a breath, and count to ten…)
Is love the word I’m looking for?
This creature curled upon the floor
Commands obedience with a wavḗd paw.
No Caesar reigned half as secure.
He deigns to live at home with me.
His presence more than company.
His cutting sneer a balm to see
Whatever that day’s misery.
I’d make this daily toil my lot.
Serve Cat and leave the world to rot.
If this could be, yet it cannot.
I’ll serve the cat I haven’t got.