Thursday, December 6, 2012

Poetry Friday: Cat by JRR Tolkien

The cat above is my 25 pound friend, Charlie. One of my wife's colleagues found him under a trailer at the middle school. He was a kitten and could fit in the palm of your hand. Slightly more rotund now, he has adopted the one person in our house that was not very enthusiastic about his arrival. I thought this poem by JRR Tolkien would be appropriate for my buddy. Plus, I took my Hobbit crazy daughter to Denny's last weekend for a Middle-Earth themed breakfast. 
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Cat by JRR Tolkien

The fat cat on the mat
 may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
 for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
 walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
 roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
 or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
 and tender men.
The giant lion with iron
 claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
 in gory jaw;
the pard dark-starred,
 fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
 leaps upon his meat
where woods loom in gloom —
 far now they be,
 fierce and free,
 and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
 kept as a pet
 he does not forget.


  1. Delicious poem, Jeff! Love Tolkien's "pard dark-starred,/fleet upon feet." Our family is owned by a 16-lb. kitty among other beasts, so I smiled through this one.

  2. Thanks for sharing this poem, Jeff! I have one cat who remembers, and one who would hate to be anything but a "kittypet" (in Erin Hunter's "Warriors" series lingo).

  3. This poem just cries out to be spoken aloud with all its round vowel sounds and rhyme scheme. We adopted a tuxedo kitten about 8 months ago and she now thinks she is queen of our household. She is a mean queen. Precious to behold, but not to hold.

  4. Tolkien really is a master of internal rhyming, isn't he? I'm reading Lord of the Rings with my younger son at the moment - very exciting as I've never read it before - and we're really enjoying all the poetry.

  5. So nice to see a poem by Tolkien that I've never read before. Good stuff!

  6. Loved this...he reminds me of a "fat cat" we adopted years and years ago, who fancied himself a sleek and dangerous lion even as he grew in girth and laziness. Cats are just awesome.

  7. I thought our 18 pounder was big! Great poem to go with the story!

  8. Oooh, this is wonderful. Especially

    lean and slim,
    or deep in den
    in the East feasted on beasts
    and tender men

    Love that! My husband just brought me home an annotated version of The Hobbit today. Hoping to re-read before I see the movie.


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