Cats Love Me
you say as we pass one on a garden wall,
a mottled sack of idleness.
But as you proffer a mittened hand
a row of tiny white fangs
springs out amidst the fluff.
Turning a bend we spot a ginger puss
pulled tight across the path
by a squirrel, nibbling acorns, just yards away –
aware of us, yet ignoring us.
We walk towards him
and he holds his pose
making increasingly fine judgements
as we approach.
Now the cat’s dilemma –
to display, indiscreetly, his viciousness,
the bloody side of his nature,
or else to quickly don
the soft known coat of civilisation.
And, at the last moment, he’s there
beneath your stroking hand
wrapping the glad scarf of his tail
around your forearm –
lifting up his face to you
as if he were a proud young prince
waiting to be kissed.
This was one of several poems I had published in the Belmont Art Centre’s Poetry File programme for teaching in secondary schools in Shropshire.