Saturday, July 9, 2011

And Was Locked Away in the Madhouse at St. Luke's with His Sad Religious Mania, and His Wild Gratitude, and His Grave Prayers for the Other Lunatics, and His Great Love for His Speckled Cat, Jeoffry



Meet Clops, who's coming to live at our house sometime next week. He's also an object lesson in why you should never tell your co-workers that you worship cats or that you've adoptive feral cats living in your house if you don't want to be emotionally blackmailed into adopting the above twelve-week old feral who was found at a construction site and lost an eye from a scratch and infection.

As soon as the emotional blackmail worked against me, which is to say instantaneously, I used emotional blackmail against Earthgirl, who held out until I showed her the photo above, whom I married twenty-three years ago today.







Until Clops is in our house this is all still tentative. Clops is still at the vets. I'm told he'll be ballless and as vaccinated as so young a kitten can be, but I've not talked to the vet yet to hear what he knows and get Clop's records for my vet. I stupidly didn't tell my friend we'd take the cat before she left work; what if she finds another taker? I emailed last night. I've no idea if she reads her work email over the weekend, but I've time-stamped my claim.






    JUBILATE AGNO

    Christopher Smart

    For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
    For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
    For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
    For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
    For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon
    **his prayer.
    For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
    For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
    For this he performs in ten degrees.
    For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
    For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
    For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
    For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
    For fifthly he washes himself.
    For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
    For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
    For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
    For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
    For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
    For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.
    For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
    For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
    For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
    For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
    For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
    For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
    For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
    For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
    For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
    For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
    For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness
    **he suppresses.
    For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit
    **without provocation.
    For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
    For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
    For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
    For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of
    **the Children of Israel from Egypt.
    For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
    For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
    For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
    For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God
    **to him exceedingly.
    For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
    For he is tenacious of his point.
    For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
    For he knows that God is his Saviour.
    For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
    For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
    For he is of the Lord's poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence
    **perpetually—Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
    For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
    For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
    For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
    For he is docile and can learn certain things.
    For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.
    For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
    For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.
    For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
    For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.
    For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
    For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
    For the former is afraid of detection.
    For the latter refuses the charge.
    For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
    For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
    For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
    For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
    For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
    For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
    For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
    For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
    For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven
    **to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
    For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
    For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
    For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
    For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
    For he can swim for life.
    For he can creep.








    WILD GRATITUDE

    Edward Hirsch

    Tonight when I knelt down next to our cat, Zooey, 
    And put my fingers into her clean cat's mouth, 
    And rubbed her swollen belly that will never know kittens, 
    And watched her wriggle onto her side, pawing the air, 
    And listened to her solemn little squeals of delight, 
    I was thinking about the poet, Christopher Smart, 
    Who wanted to kneel down and pray without ceasing 
    In everyone of the splintered London streets,
     
    And was locked away in the madhouse at St. Luke's 
    With his sad religious mania, and his wild gratitude, 
    And his grave prayers for the other lunatics, 
    And his great love for his speckled cat, Jeoffry. 
    All day today—August 13, 1983—I remembered how 
    Christopher Smart blessed this same day in August, 1759, 
    For its calm bravery and ordinary good conscience. 
    
    This was the day that he blessed the Postmaster General 
    "And all conveyancers of letters" for their warm humanity, 
    And the gardeners for their private benevolence 
    And intricate knowledge of the language of flowers, 
    And the milkmen for their universal human kindness. 
    This morning I understood that he loved to hear—
    As I have heard—the soft clink of milk bottles 
    On the rickety stairs in the early morning, 
    
    And how terrible it must have seemed 
    When even this small pleasure was denied him. 
    But it wasn't until tonight when I knelt down 
    And slipped my hand into Zooey's waggling mouth 
    That I remembered how he'd called Jeoffry "the servant 
    Of the Living God duly and daily serving Him," 
    And for the first time understood what it meant. 
    Because it wasn't until I saw my own cat 
     
    Whine and roll over on her fluffy back 
    That I realized how gratefully he had watched 
    Jeoffry fetch and carry his wooden cork 
    Across the grass in the wet garden, patiently 
    Jumping over a high stick, calmly sharpening 
    His claws on the woodpile, rubbing his nose 
    Against the nose of another cat, stretching, or 
    Slowly stalking his traditional enemy, the mouse, 
    A rodent, "a creature of great personal valour," 
    And then dallying so much that his enemy escaped. 
    
    And only then did I understand 
    It is Jeoffry—and every creature like him— 
    Who can teach us how to praise—purring 
    In their own language, 
    Wreathing themselves in the living fire. 




    11 comments:

    1. Celebrate an anniversary with more cats, almost always the way to go, you big sap.

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    2. One can never have too many cats, or so I've heard.
      ~

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    3. Why the fuck are you celebrating with a GIF of Toonces the Driving Cat and Parker Posey (mrowr)?

      And happies, as noted privately. While there is the timeloss phenomenon also noted privately, I of course vividly remember the day. If not the year. Or any of the other days in that year.

      Jack: his longhaul is the karmic counterpoint to my relationship tectonics.

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    4. If you called the little dude "Syms" he could teach the other cats how to be an educated consumer, but "Clops" is clearly more befitting a feral cat!

      Way to go, cat savior!

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    5. Bjork, AKA Parker Posey.

      Anniversary! Cute cat.

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    6. No way..you are as loopy as I? We run a cat rescue op from our house too as the hood is seeing way too many housecats left to fend for themselves the last couple of years. You can NOT leave a housecat to fend for his/herself..they will friggin DIE in this hood as the ratio of pitbulls to people is off the charts.

      We get neuter/spay help from a local group thank gawd..so the ferals we do catch as kittens at least won't procreate. Domesticating them is another matter however. I got the scars to prove it.

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    7. Congratulations to both of you. Perhaps in another universe the political varmints cease their varmintry for one day on any day that you post but don't discuss them. Presumably in this universe things are only 5/7 or 6/7 as crappy as here...

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    8. Thanks, everyone.

      Clops is only 12 weeks old, so we're not too concerned about converting him to an indoor cat. Two of the three ferals from the litter come and go in and out of the house (they're three years old now). Napoleon's sitting next to me as I type this. We used Metro Ferals - they helped us trap them, get the spayed and neutered, for $50 each. Wonderful organization. Thanks for your work, Dusty.

      JV - I had a list of links and thought no. I need to remind myself I'm allowed.

      Parker Posey singing "Teacher's Pet" in *Waiting for Guffman* is one of my favorite oh-my moments.

      Jack, I hope you're feeling better.

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    9. Can I has eye patch? I wanna' be pirate. Arrrr!

      23? Got you by two and about a month. Many more happies! Hike away.

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