The Red Cat And The Blue

Last night, the cat re-entered
Through the flap of my dreams,
The one you may or may not remember
I told you all about in scenes
And named the newborn poem
‘Feathers In The Fennel’,
(Although I do not expect you
Would dismember thoughts from memories
Just because I have to);
The very same cat, only this time
By an orange-red tabby friend accompanied;
They sat on the compost box
Beyond the rosehip and the garlic,
And they talked like old accomplices,
With such great ease,
About the virtues of mice and wrens and
The current disease in their two-legged friends
Which had led to the inconvenience of them
Being home more often than usual.
The scent of ginseng wafted into the dream,
And cassia, and juniper seeds;
In his field of view that red cobby found me,
As piercing as prayers from a high priestess
Whispered straight through the locks
And domains of angels in heaven,
He sauntered over the lawn with airs
Of a munificent feudal lord,
Orgulously surveying the garden
As if he himself had managed the jasmine and verbena
Feeling their seven-fingered ways through the fence,
Then stretching as only cats can stretch,
He jumped comfortably on to my kitchen window sill
And purred as I stood transfixed
By the overflowing sink,
His penetrating feline eyes
Would battle with myths
To conquest and have convinced my latest soul,
And he quietly yawned, or it may have been a roar
And said:
“Nick, here are several collective nouns for cats”;
He paused, and thoughtfully licked a furry paw,
Then provocatively, as if it was the only thing
Which mattered right now in this world,
Which of course it was,
Continued, (I could not move,
For he had my limbs in his vice-like catnip-grip)
“Including a clowder of cats,
And a glaring of cats,
Which is my personal favourite,
A litter, of course, and some which are new,
Some which are as ancient as my mummified relatives
Back in the cat necropolises
Of Saqqara”,
He jumped from the window sill,
And in that moment I awoke, cold and sweating,
For they used to deposit dead cats
Dried in cavities within the walls
Of houses, shops and pubs,
To ward off malevolent spirits
And cultivate good fortunes;
Wrapped in herbs, the cats were scented
With the juniper and cassia
For their healing and preservative compounds;
But in the dream they had me switched,
The orange-red cat and myself,
Painted me blue, gave me some food,
And left me dried there for centuries
For other people’s purposes
In that false familiar wall
From where I would write
By the mind’s candle-light,
Morning, noon and night
Under the stairwell joists,
As the families and lovers
Through that home’s happy history
Laughed, and sang, and rejoiced.

Broodmare Dam

A dream of horses in rain
And a dead bookmaker’s tic-tac:
Sais a wang and Major Stevens;
Silks in vibrant shades,
Saddles weighted with seasons;
The going was good
And the odds were even.

Those thoroughbreds were long dead too,
Yet my mind unwoken is ransacked still;
Eight furlongs for a mare’s mile made,
My subliminal gizzard’s a hippophile;
Beaufort Scales in their withers
And flaring from their nostril frills
With muzzle of fire, and hooves of steel.

Mothballed

After the waves of reckoning had ceased
And I had passed through the eternal entrance,
They dressed me in a taupe-coloured sack-cloth
And a tea-towel for a turban.
One good man retrieved a moth from my ear,
Said to be cursed from the days of Neferu-Seh;
He said he was a beetle-surgeon
But worked on Lepidoptera, for a fee.
A dryad was summoned to wash my feet,
I gave her my name as a down-payment;
An oread exsanguinated words from me
As if with lexicons I had been pregnant.

Back home, the corridors were dusty
And in need of painting,
The lawn was bare and wanted draining;
Utility bills drifted on to a doormat.
The first action after the sighs are spent
Is to untake dormant photographs;
Their mothers would weep if they had sight
Of where their children as adults might end,
A wintry beach in Lincolnshire, a terminus.
Not payment enough to prevent the mishaps,
There was no moth; only myths and traps.

Haiku #191 – #195

191.

July begins,
But not suffering.
A fat magpie fluffs its wings.

192.

Verbena boxed
By canes and string.
Nature knows parameters.

193.

A bystander, limted
by their word,
Will not disrupt or intervene.

194.

I saw flames in the carpet.
Summer sends its messages
To my subconscious, anon.

195.

These messages thrust
Upwardly the threat
Of my own complacency.