Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday's Poetry: "February"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Last year at this time I ran the poem "Groundhog" by Richard Eberhart in this space in recognition of Groundhog Day.   This year I again looked for something that would pay homage to the several large groundhogs who call my little farm their home - or perhaps it is me calling their home my farm.  Sadly, Eberhart's verse, that of the slow decomposition of a dead groundhog which he found lying in a field, appears to be the current extent of professional groundhog poetry.

So this year I am opting for a poem by Canadian novelist and poet, Margaret Atwood, which focuses on the month of February (which she calls a "month of despair") and cats.  I found her poem especially relevant to my household because my little dog, Rosie, was spayed during the past week and is no longer a potential Chihuahua egg-donor.

Please enjoy what Margaret Atwood has to say about the cold month of February, and cats, and humanity.

By Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,   
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries   
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am   
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,   
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,   
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,   
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here   
should snip a few testicles. If we wise   
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,   
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over   
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing   
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits   
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries   
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.  
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

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