from kittens in a pile like little toys
She sat upon his shoulder, dug her claws
into his years of boredom, mess and joys
Only at his feet she’d lay her birds
Despatched all girlfriends (except me) with piss
and hairballs scrivened meaningful as words
She was his girl: the point was hard to miss
She edited our evenings with her tail
Restructured days as if she knew the tao
But gradually set down her pen, grew frail
Her empty cat-shaped space seems larger now
When love has followed life it makes us taller
All deaths are equal size, not one is smaller
Today’s poem is a sonnet for our cat Vada, who died yesterday at the ripe old age of 16. She was always Paul’s best girl, I was tolerated as the mistress. Other girlfriends were not so lucky and got their bags pissed or vomited on. So I count myself lucky to have been spared the hairball of disapproval.
It’s also based on three cat-related suggestions from peeps:
- @matchtrick “Is there room for an editorial consultant in there?”
- @SeanMElliott: “Hairballs”
- @greenspace01: “hunting, and sharing what you've caught with your family”
And before you ask – remember the character Vada in the nineties film My Girl with Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin? That’s who she’s named after, not Darth Vader. This has required a LOT OF EXPLAINING over the years, and is why I get final say on the names of our children. But we always just called her Vades.
Picayune is a lovely word, it means “small and of little importance”. The death of a friend is never picayune, even if that friend was a cat.