Napowrimo 2019. Day 16. And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Today’s prompt takes its inspirations from Christopher Smart’s “Jubilate Agno.” Fundamentally, this is a poem about a cat. It’s also a structurally very straightforward poem – every line begins the same way, and is about some aspect of the cat at issue. But from these seemingly simple ingredients, Smart constructs a poem that is luminously, joyously weird. Just as English’s poem listing things found in a hedge renders the familiar strange by making us focus on each, individual item in the hedge, Smart makes a humble housecat seem like the most wondrous thing in the world. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.
He who greets us with excitement,
And just a little pee.
He who loves to give wet kisses,
All over our faces.
He who chases his tail,
Occasionally catching it.
He who snores loudly,
And sleeps in strange positions.
He who loves to cuddle,
Upon our laps.
He who tilts his head,
In curiosity or confusion.
He who runs through fields with rapidness and speed.
While pulling up bits of grass and flinging it around.
He who excitedly chases the red dot,
Even though he knows it comes from the laser pointer.
He who sits patiently for his food,
But won’t miss an opportunity to steal some.
He who barks with a squeak when excited,
And barks deeply when startled or being protective.
He who always wants to go and say goodnight to the kids,
Popping into their room to see them before bed.
He who chews everything he can get his paws on,
And likes you to hold his chew while he chews.
He who is portrayed as aggressive and a killer by the media,
Yet is so soft and loving, he couldn’t be more different.
He who is part of our family,
He who is our pet.
By Autumn Willow
Photo by Katie Haigh