How A Cat Was Annoyed And A Poet Was Booted

A poem by Guy Wetmore Carryl

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
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!

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
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.)

The poet, cent by cent,
All his patrimony spent--
(I might tell how he went from werse to werse!)
Till the cat was sure she could,
By advising, do him good
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!"

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
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:--

"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"--
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

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,
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!"

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!"
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.)

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
Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot!

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