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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Bishop

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To my cat's namesake, an honor of great love, for small and ordinary things, which Elizabeth Bishop attended to so well.

I like how in this poem she takes on that aloof and devil-may-care attitude of cats. Perhaps if we just go to sleep, better days will come, at least in our dreams.

Elizabeth Bishop, February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979.



Lullaby For the Cat

by Elizabeth Bishop


Minnow, go to sleep and dream,
Close your great big eyes;
Round your bed Events prepare
The pleasantest surprise.

Darling Minnow, drop that frown,
Just cooperate,
Not a kitten shall be drowned
In the Marxist State.

Joy and Love will both be yours,
Minnow, don't be glum.
Happy days are coming soon —
Sleep, and let them come...

my Bishop
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23 comments:

Andressa C. said...

Ouhn :D

Margaret said...

Just seeing my kitties laying in the sun or walking with their tails up or...yes, knocking my christmas ornaments off the tree (and last year, staring eye level IN the tree right back at me) ... daily lifts my spirits. Your Bishop looks the essence of "bliss". :)

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

What a beauty, is your 'Bishop'...

What would humans do, if we could not drift off into sleep? Not only for the night... But as naps, now and then, as well...

Lots of things seem to clear.... After some sleep.... :-)

"Successful marriage
is leading innovative lives together,
being open, non-programed.
It's a free fall: how you handle
each new thing as it comes along."


~Joseph Campbell

hedgewitch said...

Loved the pics of Bishop, and the light and amusing (and amazingly short!) poem from his namesake. Sleep is indeed a great reset-er and renewer, and without it we can become quite shattered by the demands of simply being alive. All animals spend much more time sleeping than we do--which proves the contention that they know more than they're letting on. ;_)

erin said...

isn't this perverse though? i laugh. the cat will eat the minnow, everyone! THE CAT WILL EAT THE MINNOW! this is a drama!

your cat is beautiful. my cat is a strange creature that almost has the word rat in his definition. i just picked him up this morning and said, when is the last time i picked you up, 1999? i felt guilty for this for a while. i pet him. he purred. and then he was ridiculous! he marrrwled at me continuously, following me around and intent upon driving me crazy. i threw a pillow at him.

i know, i know, i will go to hell.

xo
erin

JeannetteLS said...

This one simply made me smile, and somehow my eyes narrowed somewhat by the last photo.

And I blinked ... slowly.

rosaria said...

Ah, what beautiful creatures cats are,mysterious and simple, aloof and close in the same pose.

Vagabonde said...

I do not tire to look at cats, or pictures of cats. They are such great companions. I like the pictures of your Bishop – his eyes are so expressive.

Suman said...

Lovely pictures, Ruth. Your Bishop is one absolutely charming creature!
Regarding the poet, I have never really forgotten the impact 'One Art' had on me, my very first experience of her poems. So ordinary and straightforward, yet so so deep.

Arti said...

Do you know, Ruth, that I'm afflicted with an ailment since childhood: ailurophobia, afraid of cats? But I'm enticed to read this poem (and quickly scroll past the visuals). ;) I like the poem because it's sounds so endearing as if the lullaby is to a baby or small child. I can see why you'd have loved that name.

Jeanie said...

Oh, Ruth, I dearly love this post -- I'm not familiar with this poem and it is so lovely. I may well have to copy that one for my notebook. And beautiful photos of your Bishop. Lovely in every way.

Ruth said...

Andressa, not sure what that means, but thank you. :-)

Margaret, how can i not laugh at them, and you!

Auntie, you said that with true wisdom, perhaps learned from cats.

Ruth said...

hedge, quite often I find myself arguing in favor of some behavior I would like to do based on what animals do. I have no particular problem with that. :-)

erin, ha! I see everyone running! I hope that you will not pick up your cat for another 10 years. One time when I was planting flowers and Bishop was just a kitten she kept planting herself right in the middle of the holes I dug. She drove me almost stark raving mad. I tossed her in the garage. I know, I know, I will go to hell. :-)

Jeanette, hee hee.

Ruth said...

rosaria, I have not always been a fan of cats, partly because of that aloofness. But Bishop changed everything, and yes she is both aloof and close.

Vagabonde, thank you. Bishop is my 1st pet. We had no animals growing up. My parents, well my dad, did not like animals in the house. Perhaps this carried over; Bishop lives outside.

Suman, thanks so much. Yes, “One Art” is wonderful, and a great way to begin with Bishop.

Ruth said...

Arti, oh I am sorry to hear that, and that I have presented you with these images of Bishop. Thank you for reading anyway. We got 2 kittens together, a sister and brother. I named them both for poets: Bishop was the girl and Blake was the boy. Blake wanted more human contact, so we gave him to a friend where he could live inside. Our son has cat allergies, so we needed barn cats. Bishop is the queen of all she can see here on the farm.

Jeanie, I'm glad this post made you happy. Your Gypsy is quite a beautiful companion.

George said...

A touching little poem, Ruth, and these are wonderful photos of your cat, Bishop. While I'm not a cat owner, and clearly have no understanding of cats, I can relate somewhat to the poem by simply observing my Derry, who is curled up on the sofa as I write. Better days will come indeed, even if today is the best day we've ever experienced.

Ruth said...

George, thanks to you and Derry for your visit to Bishop and me. I have not been an animal person, since I couldn't have pets growing up, but I've been drawn to dogs, especially of a size to fit just below my hand when walking. Now that Peter is engaged, his fiancée brings a wonderful dog, Ara, who I've shown here at the blog in the past. I couldn't ask for a better world: one with a cat who is just aloof enough to love staying outdoors, yet cuddly enough to let me scratch and pet her, and a dog who walks and runs in the meadow with me. I'd say these are pretty good days!

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

Bishop the Beauteous. Look at the love in those eyes.

Cait O'Connor said...

Your cat pics are exquisite.

Christine said...

I love the photo concerning his 'conversation with the chickens'. Cats are such interesting and alive creations, fascinating to watch. I think they never really lose their wild streak.

ds said...

Gah! You fenced me out. I only wanted to play with the chickens, I swear... : )
Love both Bishops. Purrrrrrrrr...

Ginnie said...

I had forgotten about Bishop's namesake...or perhaps never knew? She would have been close to Mom's age but died so much younger. Now you've got me curious, so I'll Google her.....

Brendan said...

Happy belated birthday, Elizabeth Bishop, and cheers to the namesake feline who resides in your barn. What a robust-looking cat, so thick-furred (oh of course, he fares through Michigan winters), in possession of his world. I do think we see one of our personas in cats, languid and soft and fierce at the same time. When they sleep, do we exist? - Brendan