Saturday, April 10, 2010

Garden Lion

I have been given to review the book 'A History of Gardening in New Zealand. It has a lovely photograph of poet Ursula Bethell in her Cashmere garden holding her cat Michael. There is a short poem to the cat in the excerpt. In my mind cats and gardens go together.

Here is another of her poems about Michael


O Michael, you are at once the enemy
And the chief ornament of our garden,
Scrambling up rose-posts, nibbling at nepeta,
Making your lair where tender plants should flourish,
Or proudly couchant on a sun-warmed stone.

What do you do all night there,
When we seek our soft beds’
And you, old roisterer,
Away in the dark?

I think you play at leopards and panthers
I think you wander on to foreign properties:
But on winter mornings you are a lost orphan
Pitifully wailing underneath our windows;
And in summer by the open doorway,
You come in pad, pad, lazily, to breakfast,
Plumy tail waving with a fine swagger.
Like a drum major, or a parish beadle,
Like a rich rajah, or a grand mogul.

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