Thursday, July 11, 2013

Poem of the week - "Alley cat love song" by Dana Gioia

This somewhat irregularly recurring segment on this blog has proven moderately popular with outside readers who stumble here through google. I try to keep things fresh by posting poems across various genres, time periods, themes and genders. Haven't really posted any poems in a while, so consider this the triumphant return of this durable segment.

This is an interesting poem for me because I kinda know the son of the poet. He played quizbowl (aka academic competition etc etc) at Harvard and I have met him at a few tournaments here and there. He is widely considered one of the best players of literature questions in the country. Genetics, I suppose.

Anyway, here's Dana Gioia (who was the chairman of National Endowment of Arts, a marketing executive who avidly promoted Jello-O among other things) with his beautiful poem about love among cats:

Alley cat love song
by Dana Gioia 

Come into the garden, Fred,
For the neighborhood tabby is gone.
Come into the garden, Fred.
I have nothing but my flea collar on,
And the scent of catnip has gone to my head.
I'll wait by the screen door till dawn.
The fireflies court in the sweetgum tree.
The nightjar calls from the pine,
And she seems to say in her rhapsody,
"Oh, mustard-brown Fred, be mine!"
The full moon lights my whiskers afire,
And the fur goes erect on my spine.
I hear the frogs in the muddy lake
Croaking from shore to shore.
They've one swift season to soothe their ache.
In autumn they sing no more.
So ignore me now, and you'll hear my meow
As I scratch all night at the door.

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