The Feline Demolition Squad

One cat leads to another - E. Hemingway

A Crazy Cat Woman

 

I saw an old woman yesterday.

Just before dusk, she walked in the twilight,

An old hag, her clothes dusty rags,

Hunched back, walking with a limp,

Strands of matted grey hair circled her face,

A withered parchment of unspoken sorrow.

She pushed a rusty shopping cart,

Its wheels screeching at every turn,

Her treasure trove and home.

She sat down at a bench at the park

And called her friends: the cats.

And they came: young and old,

Spotted, striped, black and white,

The tom, the queen and the kitten,

Their tails erected and trembling,

They greeted her with purrs and mews.

She searched her bags for food,

Her cart short in treats, her soul rich in blessings,

Oblivious to the stares of others.

Young mothers with their children,

Couples hand in hand and giggling teens,

They looked and laughed at the old crone.

Her unkempt hair an offence to their eyes,

Her dirty cart an insult to their tastes.

“Look at her”, they said, “a crazy old woman,

Friendless, homeless, feeding the cats.”

The children called her names and threw dirt at her.

Did she notice? I could not tell.

Her lap a mass of trembling purr, a smile on her face,

Luminous joy in every line and wrinkle.

Her dirty cart a treasure chest of cheap cat food,

Her toothless mouth a spring of simple blessings.

Once fed and petted, they circled her feet,

Black cats, tabby cats, toms and kittens,

And a young mother brought her young,

-the one that had escaped cars and poison-

As if she asked for her blessing.

And when darkness fell and the Full Moon rose,

The cats went on with their feline business,

For the night was young and the mice were many.

In silence then the old hag rose,

And started with a limp, pushing the screeching cart.

But as she walked away,

It seemed to my mortal eyes,

That she no longer was a hag,

But an ageless woman, tall and regal,

Her dark hair scented braids,

Her gown beaded linen,

Her voice the ring of copper sistrums.

Her feet left the earth

And walked upon a moonbeam,

To that place in Heavens

Next to her Lion-Headed sister.