Poems: Day Six - 'Black Cat' by Rainer Maria Rilke

You know I was happy to see a cat poem this morning!

I love dogs, my parents had dogs when I was a kid and I've got one now, but I've always been a cat person. It must be something in my genes. 

Did you know black cats are the last to be adopted? And a black cat crossing your path is bad luck in the US, but good luck in Europe? 

I adopted a black cat, a long-haired beauty, but he up and lost his outer coat and now he's a darkish gray-brown. He's our weirdest cat by far, and cats are weird in general. When they aren't being amazing, anyhow, and they are often amazing.

Today's poem is 'Black Cat' by Rainer Maria Rilke. It's in the public domain, so I'm going to print the whole thing here, but I found it at www.poets.org

Our black cat when he used to be black, and when he got into a box of shredded paper.

Our black cat when he used to be black, and when he got into a box of shredded paper.

Black Cat
Rainer Maria Rilke1875 - 1926
A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:
just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.
She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once
as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

Rilke perfectly captures several aspects of cats. They can be mysterious. You can get lost in them. There is something ancient and animal about them. "Just like a raving madman." 

Week Five: Creative - Poem-A-Day

  1. Day One - Names
  2. Extra Poem - I Am Vertical
  3. Day Two - Non-lieux
  4. Extra Poem - Bring on the Goddamn Cat
  5. Day Three - As a Portent
  6. Extra Poem - To Autumn
  7. Day Four - Playback
  8. Day Five - Last Night
  9. Day Six - Black Cat
  10. Day Seven - Weave In, My Hardy Life
  11. Extra Poems
  12. Conclusion