That’s a quote from The Galloping Cat. A poem by the late British writer Stevie Smith. For this episode it’s taken from the book All the Poems by Stevie Smith, edited by Will May, Ph.D.
At a meeting of the East Texas Poetry Society last month we were discussing how few people read poetry these days—our professor quoted the number as low as 7%. About a week later, a listener emailed me this poem, as a suggestion for the podcast. With it’s quirky, well-developed cat character, it’s perfect for the podcast!
This poem was a lot of fun to read. It’s lyrical and visual, not a riddle poem, but a work of flowing verse. I caught myself repeating over-and-over the words, “I am a cat that gallops about doing good.” And I used my terribly fake British accent.
I ordered the book on Amazon, and found it delightful, as it’s filled with pen-an-ink illustrations Ms. Smith drew with each poem. Every home should have several interesting poetry books, and this should be one of them.
I hope you enjoy this podcast, and add this book to your collection.
Title: All the Poems
Author: Stevie Smith (1902-1971), edited by Will May, Ph.D.
Date Published: Original ©1937, ©2016 by the Estate of James MacGibbon, ©2015 by Will May
Publisher: New Directions Books
A Few Illustrations from the Book
Featured Cats for Meows and Purrs
The meows and purrs are from sixteen-year-old Oscar and his litter mate sister, Olivia. They had a terrible story of being feral, but when we rescued them, we found them not feral at all, just two very old homeless cats.
For years the lady caring for them told us about these two feral cats she fed on her patio. When she passed away unexpectedly, we became the most likely neighbors to care for these cats. When we found them, as they were always out of sight, we found two emaciated cats with stomatitis living outside in the Texas heat with dirty water, and being fed 1/4 cup of dry food to share between them. Of course they couldn’t eat because of the stomatitis (google that).
Mac and I immediately prepared a dedicated bedroom in our second condo that serves as my studio, office, and podcast area. We removed the wooden bedroom door, and added a reinforced screen door. Cat trees, toys, beds, every essential needed was brought in. We trapped them, let them heal at the vet for a few days, and they came home to live out the remainder of time. Their original names were Pinky and Bootsie. That life was so bad, we decided to give them new aliases…they became Oscar and Olivia.
Oscar loved his bed, and being brushed. He had never had a bed. He thought getting his nails trimmed was fun. Olivia spent her time on the cat tree.
They came to live in Spring 2018. Olivia lived a few more months, passing away Thanksgiving weekend, November 2018. Oscar passed away two months later, January 3, 2019. Olivia was a bit neurotic. Oscar was a love. He’s the main voice on this episode—and we cherish his voice.
In an interesting twist, as Oscar was passing away, we were brushing him and telling him to please come back to us. Seven months later, the cat TillySue, who has become the leading podcast voiceover star, showed up at the studio very pregnant. We easily trapped her in our TNR trap. She was the sweetest personality. She moved into the Cat Room formerly occupied by Oscar and Olivia. She had her kittens in the podcast recording closet. And to our great surprise, we believe her grey and white kitten to be Oscar reincarnated. There are so many similarities, but the strongest is the eyes. There’s something about them—they’re the same eyes. This kitten lives with us and is named Greyson. You may see him in the Podcast Cats section of this site.
I hope you enjoy The Literary Catcast. I would love to hear from you. I never plan to have sponsors—this is a work of love. I have no set schedule to release episodes, because as I mentioned the reading is very time intensive, so please subscribe to stay tuned, and tap the 5-stars if you listen on Apple Podcasts.
Cheers to cats, hot tea, excellent writers, and good story telling. Thanks for listening.