I had guests on Tuesday…a friend named Matteo (which means the gift of god, which one isn’t quite clear, I think he’s Loki’s gift) who is an Ubuntu enthusiast, his wife and another friend. Preparing dinner I put “Cats” on the computer and enjoyed for the umpteenth bazillioneth time that fantastic ballet and musical.
T. S. Eliot wrote a lovely book of poetry entitled: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. And of course “Cats” is the stage version of this great poem. This comes from his book, and below you can hear him reading it.
The Naming of Cats
by T. S. Eliot
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo, or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey –
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames –
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter –
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride –
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkstrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover –
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
(I had to giggle at all the “mistakes” WordPress wants me to correct in this poem!)
Let’s not forget this lovely song and scene:
Have a great day!