Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Naming of Cats by T. S. Eliot

I have 6 cats and I know they party at night while we're asleep.  You have to own a cat to fully understand this strange phenomenon.  Cats are wild & crazy people in little fur suits.  :-)

"Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T. S. Eliot is my favorite book of cat poetry.  The illustrations are pretty awesome, too.  Did you know that this book (which Mr. Eliot wrote for his godchildren in the 1930's) inspired the Broadway musical Cats?  Indeed! 

This is one of my favorite poems in the book:

The Naming of Cats
By T. S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.


Kelly said...

LOVE this post, Marion!!! As you know, I've become a bit of a cat person, sorta, via my daughters' cats.

I think Max sleeps 24/7, but Lucky is nocturnal, for sure. No telling what he does in the deep of the night!! ahahaha!

Marion said...

Kelly, I'm so happy you're converting to feline-ism. Tee-Hee. There is hope! One of our cats, Catfish, likes to run up and down the hall at night and skid loudly into the walls. I'm pretty sure he gets into my favorite Apothic Red Wine. I'm just not quite sure how he gets the cork out.....LMAO! xoxo

Still Growing said...

Kelly this is amazing! I love TSElliot, and can I just tell you that the cartoon is soooooo aweseome! I considered briefly stealing it to post! LOL! Off to read more of you... where ever have you been all my life?
xo Sisterly Love,

Marion said...

Dana, feel free to steal the cartoon. I stole it from my sister. LOL! xo, Marion