In honour of Simon’s cat

Yesterday morning, I woke with the first line of a poem running round my head. This is not a normal occurrence. I haven’t tried writing “pomes” since I was at school, sacrificing metre and occasionally sense on the altar of a good rhyme.

I blame all those blogging poets – Dennis Cardiff ( being the foremost culprit.  They’ve reminded me how much pleasure there is to be found in the economical lyricism of verse.  My subconscious has obviously been picking away at this in its spare time, planning its ambush and drip-feeding me ideas above my station.

So I went with the first line, and found others followed remarkably quickly.  And then I realised what the subject was.

This isn’t my way of doing things.

I’m a planner. I like to have my beginning, middle and end mapped out before attempting to put pen to paper.  This “just going with an idea” business all seemed dangerously bohemian.  I did it anyway (“Just live a little,” I told myself; then, reassuringly, “You can go back to your workman’s slog of editing draft two of the novel tomorrow”).

Simon's cat (by Simon Tofield). No caption required.

Simon’s cat (by Simon Tofield). No caption required.

And then – ta da! – I had a poem.  Not a very good one, but a poem nonetheless.  It turned out that it was my own version of Simon’s cat – Simon Tofield’s cartoon work of genius beloved by cat owners the world over.  (See the full, brilliant video of “Cat-Man-Do” here:–nXkel)

The major problem is that the first line I had running around my brain doesn’t really work any more.  I’ve left it in anyway on the basis that it was the gateway to my first attempt at poetry in nearly two decades.  I feel like I owe it.

So anyway, here it is. Enjoy – or not.


Saturday morning with a cat

Dawn sheds a silver tear on the page of a new day

A gentle pad: the bed

Dips and sighs

Soft fur murmurs, purrs,

Nuzzles your warmth

Motionless you lie.


She pauses,


Begins phase two


Parades pointily the escarpment of your spine

Attains your shoulders

Your neck

Prods it dainty-sharp

A warning flex of claws

A gasp of pain


I wince

My empathy apostrophised

By recollection:

It’s Saturday.

My turn

To get her breakfast.


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