‘The Poetry of Cats’ – edited by Samuel Carr

The black cat yawns,
Opens her jaws,
Stretches her legs
And shows her claws.
Then she gets up
And stands on four
Long still legs,
And yawns some more.
She shows her sharp teeth,
She stretches her lip,
Her slice of a tongue
Turns up at the tip.
Lifting herself
On her delicate toes,
She arches her back
As high as it goes.
She lets herself down
With particular care,
And pads away
With her tail in the air.
– ‘Cat’ by Mary Britton Miller


Sleeping Cat by Renoir (1862)

We adore cats here at The Literary Sisters, and when I spotted a book entitled The Poetry of Cats on the book stall in Cambridge market, I knew I just had to buy it.  In the book, a marvellous scope of poets has been included, from Edward Lear and John Keats to Ted Hughes and Francis Scarfe.

The edition has been beautifully produced, and whilst my edition’s dustjacket is faded with age, it is still a lovely collection to add to my bookshelf.  The artwork included, from an equally wide range of sources, complemented the poetry perfectly.  Carr’s introduction too, whilst rather short, was informative and wonderfully written, and his love of felines shines through from the outset.

My favourite poems in the collection were ‘The Song of the Jellicoes’ by T.S. Eliot, ‘Esther’s Tomcat’ by Ted Hughes, ‘Five eyes’ by Walter de la Mare, ‘Cats’ by Eleanor Farjeon, ‘Last words to a dumb friend’ by Thomas Hardy, ‘The Cat and the Moon’ by W.B. Yeats, ‘Cat’ by Lytton Strachey, ‘The Cat’ by Richard Church, ‘The Singing Cat’ by Stevie Smith, ‘Choosing Their Names’ by Thomas Hood, ‘To a Cat’ by A.C. Swinburne, ‘On the death of a cat’ by Christina Rossetti, ‘Cat’ by Mary Britton Miller (shown above), ‘Cat’s Eyes’ by Francis Scarfe and ‘Marigold’ by Richard Garnett.

The Poetry of Cats is an absolutely lovely book, and one which is sure to be treasured by every cat fan.