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Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot.

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Title: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.
Author: T.S. Eliot.
Genre: Literature, poetry, animals.
Country: U.K.
Language: English
Publication Date: 1939.
Summary: A collection of whimsical poems about feline psychology and sociology (and the inspiration for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats), containing 15 poems. The Naming of Cats tells of how every cat actually has three names - the regular, the fancy, and one more... The Old Gambie Cat is about a cat named Jennyanydots, who does nothing but sit during the day, but secretly keeps the household in order during the night. Growltiger's Last Stand tells of the fierce and feared Growltiger, who is snuck up upon and overthrown by his worst enemies, the Persian and Siamese. The Rum Tug Tugger is about a cat who will have nothing but his own way. The Song of Jellicles is about a group of nocturnal black-and-white cats that save all their strength for their very own moon, and their very own ball. Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer is about a couple of cats who work together to terrorize and burglar their neighbourhood. Old Deuteronomy is about an ancient cat who lives in a village and is protected and loved by all its inhabitants. Of the Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles tells of a Peke and a Pollicle almost starting a battle of all battles, together with their friends, when a Great Rumpuscat gets involved. Mr. Mistoffelees is about a magic cat that can pull any trick out of a hat (including 7 kittens!). Macavity: The Mystery Cat is a poem about the ginger cat who is the Napoleon of crime and cover-ups. Gus: The Theatre Cat is a poem of an aged cat who now spends his time regaling his drinking buddies about his success in the theatre. Bustopher Jones: The Cat about Town is a poem about a cat that makes a habit of dining in all of the establishments and pubs in the town of St. James throughout the day, becoming remarkably fat. Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat is a poem about the cat who travels in a railway train and controls the mouse situation, as well as possibly everything and everyone else. The Ad-dressing of Cats teaches the reader about how to properly address cats at different times of your acquaintance. In Cat Morgan Introduces Himself, Morgan the former pirate introduces himself, and offers some advice on dealing with cats in general.

My rating: 8/10.
My review:


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

♥ 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 a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

~~from The Naming of Cats.

♥ I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name us Jennyanydots;
Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
All day she sits beside the hearth or in the sun or on my hat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits — and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!

~~from The Old Gambie Cat.

♥ The Rum Tug Tugger is a terrible bore:
When you let him in, then he wants to be out;
He's always on the wrong side of every door,
And as soon as he's at home, then he'd like to get about.
He likes to lie in the bureau drawer,
But he makes such a fuss when he can't get out.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat—
And it isn't any use for you to doubt it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there's no doing anything about it!

~~from The Rum Tug Tugger.

♥ Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
If it happens to be a stormy night
They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
If it happens the sun is shining bright
You would say they had nothing to do at all:
They are resting and saving themselves to be right
For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

~~from The Song of Jellicles.

♥ ..They made their home in Victoria Grove—
That was merely their centre of operation, for they were incurably given to rove.
They were very well known in Cornwall Gardens, in Launceston Place and in Kensington Square—
They had really a little more reputation than a couple of cats can very well bear.

♥ And when you heard a dining-room smash
Or up from the pantry there came a loud crash
Or down from the library came a loud ping
From a vase which was commonly said to be Ming—
Then the family would say: "Now which was which cat?
It was Mungojerrie! AND Rumpelteazer!"—And there's nothing at all to be done about that!

~~from Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer.

♥ Old Deuteronomy's lived a long time;
He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession.
He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme
A long while before Queen Victoria's accession.
Old Deuteronomy's buried nine wives
And more—I am tempted to say, ninety-nine;
And his numerous progeny prospers and thrives
And the village is proud of him in his decline.

♥ Old Deuteronomy lies on the floor
Of the Fox and French Horn for his afternoon sleep;
And when the men say: "There's just time for one more,"
Then the landlady from her back parlous will peep
And say: "Now then, out you go, by the back door,
For Old Deutoronomy mustn't be woken—
I'll have the police if there's any uproar"—
And out they all shuffle, without a word spoken.
The digestive repose of that feline's gastronomy
Must never be broken, whatever befall...

~~from Old Deuteronomy.

♥ Now when these bold heroes together assembled,
The traffic all stopped, and the Underground trembled,
And some of the neighbours were so much afraid
That they started to ring up the Fire Brigade.
When suddenly, up from a small basement flat,
Why who should stalk out by the GREAT RUMPUSCAT.
His eyes were like fireballs fearfully blazing,
He gave a great yawn, and his jaws were amazing;
And when he looked out through the bars of the area,
You never saw anything fiercer or hairier.
And what with the glare of his eyes and his yawning,
The Pekes and the Pollicles quickly took warning.
He looked at the sky and he gave a great leap—
And they every last one of them scattered like sheep.

And when the Police Dog returned to his beat,
There wasn't a single one left in the street.


~~from Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles.

♥ There's no such Cat in the metropolis;
He holds all the patent monopolies
For performing surprising illusions
And creating eccentric confusions.
At prestidigitation
And at legerdemain
He'll defy examination
And deceive you again.

♥ He can play any trick with a cork
Or a spoon and a bit of fish-paste;
If you look for a knife or a fork
And you think it is merely misplaced—
You have seen it one moment, and then it is gawn!
But you'll find it next week lying out on the dawn.

♥ His manner is vague and aloof,
You would think there was nobody shyer—
But his voice has been heard on the roof
When he was curled up by the fire.
And he's sometimes been heard by the fire
When he was about on the roof—
(At least we all heard somebody who purred)
Which is incontestable proof
Of his singular magical powers:
And I have known the family to call
Him in from the garden for hours,
While he was asleep in the hall.
And not long ago this phenomenal Cat
Produced seven kittens right out of a hat!

~~from Mr. Mistoffelees.

♥ Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

♥ Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deep took place—MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!

~~from Macavity: The Mystery Cat.

♥ For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime;
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends and their club
(Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub)
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays,
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.

~~from Gus: The Theatre Cat.

♥ You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are sane and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse—
But all may be described in verse.

♥ So first, your memory I'll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.

Now Dogs pretend they like to fight;
They often bark, more seldom bite;
But yet a Dog is, on the whole,
What you would call a simple soul.
Of course I’m not including Pekes,
And such fantastic canine freaks.
The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown,
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.
He’s very easily taken in -
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He’s such an easy-going lout,
He’ll answer any hail or shout.

Again I must remind you that
A Dog’s a Dog - A CAT’S A CAT.

With Cats, some say, one rule is true:
Don’t speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that -
I say, you should ad-dress a Cat.
But always keep in mind that he
Resents familiarity.
I bow, and taking off my hat,
Ad-ress him in this form: O CAT!
But if he is a Cat next door,
Whom I have often met before
(He comes to see me in my flat)
I greet him with an OOPSA CAT!

~~from The Ad-dressing of Cats.

♥ So if you 'ave business with Faber—or Faber—
I'll give you this tip, and it's worth a lot more:
You'll save yourself time, and you'll spare yourself labour
If jist you make friends with the Cat at the door.

~~from Cat Morgan Introduces Himself.
Tags: 1930s - poetry, 20th century - poetry, animals, british - poetry, humour, literature, my favourite books, poetry
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