Thursday, February 09, 2006

About Practical Cats

I am not really an avid poem reader. One of the few poems I remember, rather a few lines I remember comes Emerson's poem about a tree and Jose Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios. I do know the complete lines of a lot of nursery rhymes and JRR Tolkien's poem found in nearly all the books of the Lord of the Rings- The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,/span
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

I even memorized the parts that were written in the One Ring.

Ash nazg durbataluk
Ash nazg gimbatul
Ash nazg thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

The Dark Tongue was easier to retain than any of the Elvish tongue. Although, I had friends who studied it and acquired enough knowledge to converse in it. This was before the Jackson's film came out. Even before Bakshi's film came out as well. The Orc version of the rhyme did play a small part in a couple of friends belief that I was possessed several years ago. Never mix alcohol and works by JRR Tolkien.

So these were the only set of poems I had continually read through the years. Then several months ago I found myself in a book store, drifting from aisle to aisle. Glancing at books, books and books. Until, I saw this small book, almost a pamphlet really. It was mocha colored and had an odd cartoon of a cat with a bowler hat. It was sofbound and the book was written by TS Eliot. The book was titled,Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

The book caught my eye because I was familiar with Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats, which was a musical adaptation of Eliot's works. So I browsed it and soon enough left the store. I had bought the book.

The book, which is a compilation of TS Eliot's cat poems, is and interesting read. In it he describeds the different types of cats. It is one of those books that you can take out and read in the park or inside a coffee house. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your lips.

Here is one of the poems -

The Naming of Cats

The naming of cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have three
different names.

First of all, there's the name
that the family use daily,
Such as Victor, or Jonathan,
George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names
if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen,
some for the dames;
Such as Plato, Admetus,
Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you,
a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that is peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he
keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers,
or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind,
I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quazo or Coripat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellyrum--
Names that never belong
to more than one cat.

But above and beyond
there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you will never guess;
The name
that no human research can discover--
But The Cat Himself Knows,
and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought,
of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
The Naming of Cats by TS Eliot,Possum's Book of Practical Cats

By the way, This book is a nice buy.


Blogger eruannie said...

i loved reading that cat poem. :-)

6:26 PM  
Blogger juned said...

I saw the book on sale yesterday at A Different Book Store

9:01 PM  

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