Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay
mhw

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A favourite Stevie Smith poem

Because it is one of my favourites, and because a couple of weeks ago I heard a recording of her reading (or, more accurately, performing) it.

The Galloping Cat

Oh, I am a cat that likes to
Gallop about doing good
So
One day when I was
Galloping about doing good, I saw
A Figure in the path; I said:
Get off! (Be-
Cause
I am a cat that likes to
Gallop about doing good)
But he did not move, instead
He raised his hand as if
To land me a cuff
So I made to dodge so as to
Prevent him bringing it orf,
Un-for-tune-ately I slid
On a banana skin
Some ass had left instead of putting in the bin. So
His hand caught me on the cheek
I tried
To lay his arm open from wrist to elbow
With my sharp teeth
Because I am a cat that likes to gallop about doing good.
Would you believe it?
He wasn't there
My teeth met nothing but the air,
But a Voice said: Poor cat,
(Meaning me) and a soft stroke
Came on me head
Since when
I have been bald.
I regard myself as
A martyr to doing good.
Also, I heard a swoosh
As of wings, and saw
A halo shining at the height of
Mrs Gubbins' backyard fence,
So I thought: What's the good
When angels stand in the path
And do not do as they should
Such as having an arm to be bitten off
All the same I
Intend to go on being
A cat that likes to
Gallop about doing good
So
Now with my bald head I go,
Chopping the untidy flowers down, to and fro,
An' scooping up the grass to show
Underneath
The cinder path of wrath
Ha ha ha ha, ho
Angels aren't the only ones who know
What's what and that
Galloping about doing good
Is a full-time job
That needs
An experienced eye of earthly
Sharpness, worth I dare say
(If you'll forgive a personal note)
A good deal more
Than all that skyey stuff
Of angels that make so bold as
To pity a cat like me that
Gallops about doing good.
Tags: poetry
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