The Song Of The Jellicles

Jellicle Cats come out tonight,
Jellicle Cats come one come all:
The Jellicle Moon is shining bright--
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats are rather small;
Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
They like to practise their airs and graces
And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.

Jellicle Cats develop slowly,
Jellicle Cats are not too big;
Jellicle Cats are roly-poly,
They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.
Until the Jellicle Moon appears
They make their toilette and take their repose:
Jellicles wash behind their ears,
Jellicles dry between their toes.

Jellicle Cats are white and black,
Jellicle Cats are of moderate size;
Jellicles jump like a jumping-jack,
Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.
They're quiet enough in the morning hours,
They're quiet enough in the afternoon,
Reserving their terpsichorean powers
To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
If it happens to be a stormy night
They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
If it happens the sun is shining bright
You would say they had nothing to do at all:
They are resting and saving themselves to be right
For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

by Thomas Stearns Eliot

Comments (1)

'The song of the jellicles' is one of the poems present in the 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' which is a set of whimsical poems by T. S. Eliot about feline psychology and sociology..' The Cats (the term is always capitalized) described in this book reveal a blend of human and feline qualities.Eliot, as well, demonstrates that Cats, like people, have three distinct identities: the superficial or everyday, the unique or distinctive, and the most deeply personal. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a lively and entertaining look at the amusing antics of cats and the foibles of people. In ' The song of the jellicles' the cat owner will recognize many instances of familiar feline behavior, and the perceptive reader will see numerous parallels to human attitudes and behavior. Moreover, this poem may generally seem to portray both the virtues and the failings of the cats being described. Eliot may with a hint of mockery, be comparing the jellicle cats with the upper strata of society. The Jellicle Cats generally appear to be simply ordinary Cats, but when the Jellicle Moon appears, they become exceptional dancers. The Jellicle Ball is the big event for the Jellicle Cats. It takes place during the Jellicle Moon. It is obvious that Eliot was a big fan of cats, someone you would definitely call a 'cat person.'Eliot's Cats have been much admired for their complexity of character. In relatively brief descriptions, the poet manages to capture the personality of the Cats and their human counterparts. The adult reader is aware of the human foibles being satirized, but as in fairy tales, evil is viewed from a rather detached perspective; and a light, whimsical tone is achieved through Eliot's puns, and his use of familiar rhymes and nonsense words. At the same time Eliot maintains a childlike point of view which makes the poems appealing to younger readers. Eliot's ability to capture the natural rhythms of speech also gives the poems an informality which adds to their appeal.