(15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' What...Watts's Cat!

IN THE HAND OF GOD

In & out
amongst

sunlight & shadows

the dead
come alive

as we speak
their names

make them real again
let them live in our voices

each tombstone
eager for us

to say them
into living

when out of
nowhere

a very Victorian looking
chap

(the image
of Mr. Watts)

pops up
as if he were

the old guy
himself...in the flesh

tired of the grave
and dying to stretch his legs.

We turn
a corner

and he is gone

lost amongst
shadows

blinded by the sun

leaving us only
this ginger & white cat

who kindly
shows us around

mewing loudly
all the time.

***

THEIR HOPE IS FULL OF IMMORTALITY

Sunlight
shines through a church of trees

deciduous
stained glass leaves

God moving
in his usual mysterious ways

shadows gathering
like worshippers

as the day’s prayer
comes to an end.

****

BE MY VOICE NEITHER FEARED NOR FORGOTTEN

We pat
the cat

(all purrs)

& turn
towards the turn

of the hill
only

to encounter
it instantly again

& then turn
again to see it still

behind us.

We see we saw it
but can’t believe what we’ve seen.

Our minds swing
see-sawing our senses.

His son
it seems

has appeared
on the scene

younger but
the same

in colour and configuration

which thus explains
the cat’s bi-location.

Mr. Young Cat
disappears as quietly
as it had appeared

& Mr. Old Cat
still loudly laughing at

our confusion
continues

to show us
around

as if he were
Mr. Watts

reincarnated in
ginger & white

& answering now
to the name Tom.


***

THE GARMENTS OF PRAISE

Entering
the Watts’s Cemetery

we are greeted
by the cat

who
without much ado

escorts us from
tombstone to tombstone

mewing among
magnificent yew trees

keeping up
a running commentary.

Neither of us
speaks cat

(it’s mews to us)
but we get the gist
of what he’s at.

Here he rests
on a memorial bench.

Here he sits
upon the hump of a grave

following us
into Lady Mary’s Chapel

still acting
as our tour guide.

He escorts us
off the premises

after we pay his fee
(yet another tickle...yet another cuddle)

We give him a tip
a chuck under the chin.

“Miaow! ” he says to us
“Miaow! ” we say to him.

Both of us fluent now
in Cat.

We turn
seeing him become

a shade
lost among shadows

as he awaits
the next customers

unlatching the gate.


***

Written today after a visit to the amazingly beautiful WATTS CHAPEL...the Arts and Crafts Memorial to the great Victorian painter G. F. Watts designed by his wife Mary to be a magnificent jewel in the world of architecture...if architecture could be a poem then this chapel is it. Our visit was made all the more worthy by the attentions of a very old cat who made himself part and parcel of our visit. He and it - a delight to the senses and to the heart.

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