Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cat's Eye


Cat's Eye

In the yellow light of the cat's eye
the night is coiled like a lamprey
winding dark flexes in a corkscrew pulse,
leaving its ripple trail faint on the surface,
incising electric heart's current below
where the crayfish and shiners
pushflip against water
in an agony to escape 
that shock-needled jaw.

Under the pressing black of the cat's paw
vision is blurred and thoughts slow.
The gasp of constriction expels in old voices
familiar but fading, soft as lavender budding,
sharp as yesterday's bones, a rictus
retelling the beads of regret,
a damned catechism 
mantra'd to nonsense
reprising till sunup.

In the amber swim of the cat's eye
sun's boat floats in prismed mirage play,
leaf and limb decoupage round the small world's rim
bowled with still water, green branch ears listening
to the cocking of the crossbow, rapt for the slap
of the next homing bolt, where one spider tree
bares her heartwood alone,
blind as the dead
in the fey catnip woods.



June 2012



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Sunday Photo Challenge: The iPhone photos of Margaret Bednar






Images: © Margaret Bednar
Used with permission

21 comments:

  1. the first several lines are a really cool description of the night....a rictus
    retelling the beads of regret,
    a damned catechism
    mantra'd to nonsense
    reprising till sunup....then these lines def give the feeling of it as well as the mind races through so many things, at least that is what is going on when i cant sleep...

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  2. I have read this in amazed admiration at the way you have seamlessly combined the image of the cat with that of the lake, with no sense of disparity in your metaphors. You are a true maestro of your art.

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  3. This is almost like three poems- I mean, the stanzas are certainly connected but I feel almost as if each could stand on its own--I and all my family are allergic to cats so except for one brief episode with a pregnant homeless once and later seven kittens (they were worth managing the wheeze) --I've had little direct experience. But the idea of being caught in the eye of night is very familiar. You've captured both. I agree with Brian that the second stanza has very compelling word play - but the first has such a great description of that waterzoey pushflipping aginst the water avoiding the needle sharp jaws- lamprey? Cat? doesn't really matter - we just don't want to get caught. k.

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  4. To me, the middle stanza is the heart of the poem. "The gasp of constriction"...where do you get this stuff? That's the perfect expression for what this is, and then for the old things to be repeated until a kind of holiness devolves into nonsense...that's something that will keep ya up all night.

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  5. That's a really neat vid on your sidebar. I love Neil, and had forgotten what a good song that one is. The video is really well done, too. I had recently been planning to use "On The Beach" with one of my poems, but never did.

    And yes, yes, there *are* dark forms scurrying around your sidebar, reading it all. Bwahaha.

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  6. Now I know what it's like to be prey to a cat. A fantabulous poem.

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  7. Fascinating what you did with the picture of the cat's eyes ~

    I like the images of shock-needled jaw, sharp as yesterday's bones and spider tree ~ Lovely work Hedge ~

    Happy Sunday to you~

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  8. winding dark flexes in a corkscrew pulse,
    leaving its ripple trail faint on the surface,
    incising electric heart's current below

    Reading this reminds me of the rhythm of the heart beat of the cat when it purrs. It'll mesmerize you into peaceful slumber.Nice write Joy!

    Hank

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  9. Lady... dear,
    you excell all expectations as for prompts of any kind.And with always a greatest prize...

    Your pick of pics so roght and wise,
    and since I am a cat lover,
    i ichoose this and thee
    as my fave. :-)

    thanks, Hedge!

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  10. Love "leaf and limb decoupage round the small world's rim".....and the damned catechism lines....whoa! Great write.

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  11. I'm back for my third reading. My moon, My night, My puddle, My cat has that yellow eye, but is no longer young enough to follow the trails in the night and barely strong enough to paw hold, again and again to the dying breath. Gosh golly, where you take her (she takes you) under the sun is not a very small world to me. Thank you for this "Cat's Eye," though it fills me with melancholy.

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  12. Oh, this winds together beautifully, like the swish of the cat's tail (cattail, ha! just got it). I love the night coiled like a lamprey, the decoupage of leaf and limb, but especially the second stanza. Wow. The utter constriction that is death (or fear, in a lesser sense), forcing one to relive/recount that damned catechism. Oh, yes. Brilliant stuff. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  13. Loved how you got a description of the night from the image of a cat's eye..there is so much here. I must read it several times to take it all in. Great piece!

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  14. I really enjoy all of the contrasting light and dark descriptions and this one in particular is striking to me:

    "In the amber swim of the cat's eye
    sun's boat floats in prismed mirage play,"

    Very nice writing, Hedge!!

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  15. Amazing poetry ~ words are failing me right now. A sincere thank you for this gift.

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  16. Lines like
    Under the pressing black of the cat's paw
    vision is blurred and thoughts slow.
    and
    in the amber swim of the cat's eye

    have a magic for me which is simply stunning.

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  17. That second stanza is just wicked!

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  18. Well, I agree, it is the pupil of my Westley's eye that captures one's attention in the photo. Cats truly due own the dark - never are afraid of it because it must be in their soul :) Yet, I love them so.

    Spider tree... ha - that IS why I took the photo - the one lone dead tree captured my attention admist all the lush green and lovely blue.

    And fey catnip woods... perfect! I echo everyone's comments above and thank you for this poem. I read it out loud and it is brilliant. But I must agree. This could be three separate cats ... or just one. We know how fickle they are, giving us the coiled lamprey pupil while purring at the same time!

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    Replies
    1. I spent quite awhile looking over your iphone photos, Margaret, before I went to bed, but couldn't pick one--if anything, I was drawn to the one of the wooden rocker--but I woke up with these phrases in my mind, and knew which pictures had inspired them. I love your cat--very regal looking, and thank you for not minding me giving him a bit of a sinister role to play here. ;)

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  19. the first verse is delicious and the second delicious! especially love the final verse... love the imagery throughout! what can i say? i LOVE this poem!

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg