April is Poetry Month – Day 5

My cat looked just like this!

 

When my children were young, we were given a book of T.S. Eliot’s poems.  Having dipped into Four Quartets and Prufrock and The Waste Land in the past, I assumed that the book was for me and not for the children.  Then I discovered his cat poems.  At dinner one night, I read the first few cat poems to the children and they were delighted.  Soon, it became a habit to read certain ones when we were in the mood.  The Rum Tum Tugger was such a favorite that my middle child demanded to memorize it for school.  I’m posting it today, for poetry month, in honor of my 18yo, who found this poem irresistible when he was 10yo and who still remembers it fondly. I”m also posting it in honor of my cat from when I was a teen and young woman who was the epitome of the Rum Tum Tugger.

 

The Rum Tum Tugger

The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat:
If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse.
If you put him in a house he would much prefer a flat,
If you put him in a flat then he’d rather have a house.
If you set him on a mouse then he only wants a rat,
If you set him on a rat then he’d rather chase a mouse.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat–
And there isn’t any call for me to shout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!

The Rum Tum 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 if he can’t get out.

Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat–
And there 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!

The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious beast:
His disobliging ways are a matter of habit.
If you offer him fish then he always wants a feast;
When there isn’t any fish then he won’t eat rabbit.
If you offer him cream then he sniffs and sneers,
For he only likes what he finds for himself;

So you’ll catch him in it right up to the ears,
If you put it away on the larder shelf.
The Rum Tum Tugger is artful and knowing,
The Rum Tum Tugger doesn’t care for a cuddle;
But he’ll leap on your lap in the middle of your sewing,
For there’s nothing he enjoys like a horrible muddle.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat–
And there isn’t any need for me to spout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!

T. S. Elliot

 

 

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