Every morning you get up to greet
me at the door and, like an automaton,
pad off to where your breakfast bowl has been;
habit borne of sixteen years of life.
In this house you’ve ruled our every moment,
and emotion, every wistful sigh,
as you lie upon a lap, your tummy
turning upwards, scrummy, mottled brown.
Your ugly face, the essence of your charm,
your sturdy temperament, unfailing, cool;
your bagpuss belly, never varying
its udder-likeness swinging as you walk.
That steady walk, wherever it is you go:
inside, outside, wanting us to know
you are grimalkin and, yet, vulnerable
so you never really leave us, day or night.
This morning you did not get up to greet
me at the door, nor barely twitch a whisker.
But I see you in your favourite place:
lying hunched, but comfortable, close by
the garden mouse hole or a cornered spider;
playing hide and seek amidst the trees;
returning from the hunt with cobweb clung
behind your ear, you didn’t even notice.
Sitting (fairly) neatly waiting for
something – only you know what it is –
only you decide when you are ready
for your tea or for a sleep, who knows…
…where it is that you are off to next,
which is, as ever, entirely up to you.
You take your time, whilst you sit there on
your big comfy cushion in the sky.
© 2011 John Anstie
[This poem is submitted to Victoria Slotto’s “Writers’ Fourth Wednesday” over at The Bardo. Victoria challenged us to write something in the second person (you), as opposed to the first person (I, we) or the third person (he, she, it, they). So, you guessed I cheated, time cheated, because I already had one written, goodness me, three years ago! And sorry it’s a bit sad …]