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Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats” by Sylvia Plath

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Old Ella Mason keeps cats, eleven at last count,
In her ramshackle house off Somerset Terrace;
People make queries
On seeing our neighbor’s cat-haunt,

The Blue Cat” by Mary O’Malley

See how magnificently he lies.
Any minute now
He will step across the kitchen tiles

And brush against your bare ankles
With all that fur on skin implies.

A Cat is Not a Cat” by S. GANAPATHI

A cat is a fallen piece of cloud
rolled up in wakeful sleep.

A mixed metaphor
descending the stairs
with a questioning tail.

Cat on a Couch” by Barbara Howes

My cat, washing her tail’s tip, is a whorl
Of white shell,
As perfect as a fan
In full half-moon. . . Next moment she’s a hare:

Cat in the Window,” by Lam Thi My Da

Often, late at night, when life feels heavy
I think of poetry, light, almost weightless

Poem” by William Carlos Williams

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset—

And a BONUS from reader suggestions:

Pangur Bán” by Anonymous translated by Seamus Heaney

From the ninth-century Irish poem

Pangur Bain and I at work,
Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:
His whole instinct is to hunt,
Mine to free the meaning pent.

Tell us your favorite cat poems! Are they on JSTOR? Send ’em in!


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Poetry, Vol. 90, No. 4 (Jul., 1957), pp. 233-234
Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Ireland Review, No. 58 (Autumn, 1998), p. 48
Poetry Ireland
Indian Literature, Vol. 34, No. 4 (144) (July-August, 1991), p. 14
Sahitya Akademi
The Sewanee Review, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1955), p. 253
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Mānoa, Vol. 14, No. 1, Two Rivers: New Vietnamese Writing from America and Viet Nam (Summer, 2002), p. 54
University of Hawai'i Press
Poetry, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Jul., 1930), p. 195
Poetry Foundation
Poetry, Vol. 188, No. 1, The Translation Issue (Apr., 2006), pp. 3-5
Poetry Foundation