When we came up with the cats and dogs theme for the September 9th One Page Poetry Circle, my first thought was don marquis’archy and mehitabel (1916) in which a cockroach (archy) who can’t reach the shift key to make capital letters or certain punctuation marks, and a cat (mehitabel) riff on every day life. Here’s an excerpt from one of the poems in which mehitabel the cat has a lot to say:

ladies my little
insect says she
being cleopatra was
only an incident
in my career
and i was always getting
the rough end of it
always being
misunderstood by some
strait laced
prune faced bunch
of prissy mouthed
sisters of uncharity
the things that
have been said
about me archy
exclamation point

That led me to T.S. Eliot and his Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which in turn inspired the musical Cats. Looking it up, I discovered a fanciful typewritten invitation by T.S. Eliot to his 4 year-old godson. This inspired Eliot’s book:

INVITATION
TO ALL POLLICLE DOGS & JELLICLE CATS
TO COME TO THE BIRTHDAY OF
THOMAS FABER.

Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats!
Come from your Kennels & Houses & Flats;
Pollicle Dogs & Cats, draw near;
Jellicle Cats & Dogs, Appear;
Come with your Ears & your Whiskers & Tails
Over the Mountains & Valleys of Wales.
This is your ONLY CHANCE THIS YEAR,
Your ONLY CHANCE to – what do you spose? –
Brush Up your Coats and Turn out your Toes,
And come with a Hop & a Skip & a Dance –
Because, for this year, it’s your ONLY CHANCE
To come with your Whiskers & Tails & Hair on
To
Ty Glyn Aeron
Ciliau Aeron –
Because your are INVITED to Come
With a Flute & a Fife & a Fiddle & Drum,
With a Fiddle, a Fife, & a Drum & a Tabor (A Musical Instrument that makes a Joyful Noise)
To the Birthday Party of
THOMAS ERLE FABER!

I’ll see if I can find the link to the original.
~annalee

 

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