ROMANTICATS (ode to Ludo)

ROMANTICATS (ode to Ludo)                                                                               

Black cat runs up a tree; seems to have seen or

sensed a bird that was meant to be hunted down,

even though the hunter has just been called inside,

that time of day, and has duly fed on cat mush from a

plastic pouch. Didn’t quite hit all the spots. Not a

lot to say about that, a sprat to catch a

proper fish, a feather to fan an appetite for that

unwary, careless meal on squeals.


He fills those empty hours in watching, waiting

for unguarded moments. There is no question as to

what to do and when: if the hen house door is open

there is no why to answer. He, a born dancer,

needs no audience to spin or do the splits for, his

movements light, his leaping lithe, all effortless ease,

no need to try, a breezy confidence, no-one to

please, no breathless expectation.


Does my smile really look like that? More like a

way to keep the flies out, the need within, finding it

hard to both muster quelques bon mots and master their

flow into an ear that’s not thrust just about as near as

one dare go in swish society scenarios.

Displeased at both ends is a gentle way for each to say

I am not here to share these aberrations, excuse me,

let me find another conversation.


So, never to be mistaken for a cat, and vice versa, I

nurse some small regret in that regard and try

hard to think of ways to spend my days

profitably, in the sense of acquiring more

cat-like features – not so much the whiskery sort as in

poise (as opposed to pose) and inscrutability, hiding a

deep calm and inner peace (as distinct from not

caring in the least for anyone or anything).


Then I start to think, just a little (never too late). While

mulling over the choice of feline faculties, or not,

my eye makes a bee-line for the climbing, arcing,

three-quarter moon, and note that the cat has seen

nothing of that. Of course, when it comes to cats –

having no hats to throw into any kind of ring – they won’t be

padding outside in their hordes for a touch of

group night-sky therapy! Not even one or two?


Maybe word has got around that it’s just a dangling

cheese – and any cat lover knows that cats are no

lovers of cheese; for Cheshire cats grin not because

they are thinking of a light, white crumbly one, rather

they are in the first, tricky, digestive phase of devouring

a sizeable saucer of something special. That lovely lady, Alice,

thought hers was just plain pleased to see her, sporting a

nice, wide smile – a mile from the mouthful truth.

Ah yes, the dangling three-quarter yellowish thing:

if not cheese, then what exactly? Is there anything to

connect a cat to the milky moon? There we have it!

It’s become a bit of a habit, this constant comparison;

no reason to find more lynx, none at all. So I

watch the moon rise, lighten my room, my eyes

close shortly after and my head spins slowly, so

slowly that soon I feel the moon is me.


And I see much, and more beside: I see the

tides of humanity dragged this way and that,

I see the Earth, stained with the blood of the

lovers of life, too often, too soon, losing it, and

we their love, before it was all given. So much

young blood shed, pumping scarlet, pumping passion,

the shoulders of a race, a tribe, a nation bearing

constant degradation and casual slaughter.


A full moon soon, a time for wishes, quiet contemplation –

gentle is the sunlight reflected off the moon’s kind face.

Back to my window; I stare drunkenly and see a pool of

clear, clean water that would soothe any brow

bathed softly until the face fades with the dawn and

morning light. The end of the night’s traverse, when it cuts

loose our hold on dreams, discarded but not forgotten –

save in our waking hours when dreams are deep asleep.


Our cats wake too, they stretch, as cats do, and

insist on food, seemingly unpuzzled by threads of

night-thought that flutter inside other heads, enough to

make a mystery. They eat, leave and resume the

strutting of their stuff in saucy saunters, discreetly

disappearing at the timely call of favoured bush. And

despite (or because of) the lack of any real feel for the moon,

unaware of the care taken to shed light on their

dark shapes, they are still fabulous creatures who

teach us how to move and how to come and go –

just like the light-gold laid-back orb that perambulates,

on settled dates, across calm and stormy skies. But

one important thing to note at night, if a cat should ever rise,

is the steely yellow, murderous tint of two unblinking eyes.


Post Script: Ludo (88), the inspiration for this poem, was killed by a speeding motorist three days ago a few yards from his front garden. He leaves his first love, Rafferty (88), who has yet to find his whiskers will turn upwards again, a bevy of tearful co-habitees and an extensive list of admirers of all shapes and sizes. Ludo, come play in our dreams.



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Stephen Gospage

Thu 2nd Dec 2021 22:07

I can only echo Greg's words. This is a beautiful, intelligent read. So sorry to hear about what happened.

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Greg Freeman

Thu 2nd Dec 2021 09:50

Sorry to hear about Ludo, Peter. This is an interesting and fine poem about the importance of cats in our lives, for those that love them.

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