Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
Guy Wetmore Carryl. 1873–1904
 
56. How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted
 
A POET had a cat. 
There is nothing odd in that— 
  (I might make a little pun about the Mews!) 
But what is really more 
Remarkable, she wore         5
  A pair of pointed patent-leather shoes. 
      And I doubt me greatly whether 
          E'er you heard the like of that: 
      Pointed shoes of patent-leather 
              On a cat!  10
  
His time he used to pass 
Writing sonnets, on the grass— 
  (I might say something good on pen and sward!) 
While the cat sat near at hand, 
Trying hard to understand  15
  The poems he occasionally roared. 
      (I myself possess a feline, 
          But when poetry I roar 
      He is sure to make a bee-line 
              For the door.)  20
  
The poet, cent by cent, 
All his patrimony spent— 
  (I might tell how he went from verse to werse!) 
Till the cat was sure she could, 
By advising, do him good.  25
  So addressed him in a manner that was terse: 
      "We are bound toward the scuppers, 
          And the time has come to act, 
      Or we'll both be on our uppers 
              For a fact!"  30
  
On her boot she fixed her eye, 
But the boot made no reply— 
  (I might say: "Couldn't speak to save its sole!") 
And the foolish bard, instead 
Of responding, only read  35
  A verse that wasn't bad upon the whole. 
      And it pleased the cat so greatly, 
          Though she knew not what it meant, 
      That I'll quote approximately 
              How it went:—  40
  
"If I should live to be 
The last leaf upon the tree"— 
  (I might put in: "I think I'd just as leaf!") 
"Let them smile, as I do now, 
At the old forsaken bough"—  45
  Well, he'd plagiarized it bodily, in brief! 
      But that cat of simple breeding 
          Couldn't read the lines between, 
      So she took it to a leading 
              Magazine.  50
  
She was jarred and very sore 
When they showed her to the door. 
  (I might hit off the door that was a jar!) 
To the spot she swift returned 
Where the poet sighed and yearned,  55
  And she told him that he'd gone a little far. 
      "Your performance with this rhyme has 
          Made me absolutely sick," 
      She remarked. "I think the time has 
              Come to kick!"  60
  
I could fill up half the page 
With descriptions of her rage— 
  (I might say that she went a bit too fur!) 
When he smiled and murmured: "Shoo!" 
"There is one thing I can do!"  65
  She answered with a wrathful kind of purr. 
      "You may shoo me, and it suit you, 
          But I feel my conscience bid 
      Me, as tit for tat, to boot you!" 
              (Which she did.)  70
  
The Moral of the plot 
(Though I say it, as should not!) 
  Is: An editor is difficult to suit. 
But again there're other times 
When the man who fashions rhymes  75
  Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot! 
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors