I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

17 April 2016


My new black cat
follows me into the kitchen.
She tries to persuade me
she is owed food.
I look at her rounded belly
and refuse. With only a brief glare,
she accepts this and strolls back 
to her chair beside the computer. 
She likes to be where I am. 
That is her safety, so far.

In the empty kitchen I see
my old black cat, who was with me
17 years. He is rattling cupboard doors, 
banging them one by one with his nose.
He knows it won't make them open;
it is a message to me, like prisoners
clanging metal mugs on a bench.
Other times, he sprawls on the spare bed
at the far end of the house. He doesn't need
proximity, to feel connected.

He is only here in my mind now.

My new girl cat
looks out through the flywire screen
at the front yard and the street.
Dogs bark. Other cats squall, fighting.
She stays indoors. I indulge her.
She looks out instead to the back garden:
a small space where nothing happens
except the growth of weeds.
Bored, she goes back to her chair.
I won't force the issue.

My last girl cat,
who was with me 16 years, 
wanders across the lawn
lifting her paws high and deliberately
out of the grass, like a dancer.
She is coming to greet me.
If I'm inside, she might well bring me
the fat corpse of a bird. 
Then I'll yell, and she’ll grip it 
and run back down the steps.

But she's only here in my mind, now.

Go to sleep, my children.

Dear visitors, time to leave once more,
until your next look in.
I will be here.
Dear newcomer, take the time you need.
We are neither of us young, but we have
whatever remains to be …
the whole of our lives.

Written for Day 16 of Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads' – about remains, remaining, or remainders.


  1. So much they are different, yet it's so hard not to compare... I love how you have a black cat n your life.

  2. O what profiles... yesterday lingers as a beautiful memory contrast with the here and now. A wonderful sense of to and fro in your poem.

  3. Oh yes ... The remains are ghosts of what we remember today but less tomorrow. Your ghost familiars are intimate and close and choir-mew around the current occupant left of your heart. We have two black strays we feed, and old mama (all her kits died years ago) and a scrawny lil’ Siamese black male who gets his ass kicked by the neighborhood alpha males every day. I've always hoped a third stray black cat would adopt us, just for the sight of Three Dread Tenors lined up on the front stoop, glaring as passersby. Thanks for the living portrait of what remains.

  4. Just love this--it is really poignant and carefully done, and works so well, sad, accepting, honest. Lovely, Rosemary. k.

  5. Very poignant and real. Our familiars "own" us as much as we "own" them, I think.

  6. Oh Rosemary, this poem touched my heart.. our memories of the ones we love tend to remain with us forever. Beautifully penned.

    Lots of love,

  7. This almost made me cry for I have had many black cats myself. I still see them in my mind...my cat now, Boo, just got sick and they think he has cancer. He's never been sick and he's only 8 years old. None of my beloved cats ever lived out their lives something always happens to them but I must enjoy them while they are around. And I do, so much. Boo is doing better and is not dying yet but I pray they are wrong since they can't be sure about the cancer...but there is a lump. I will not be giving him chemo how can he understand that? I'm praying it's a food allergy since he's doing better. I know exactly how you feel about your black cats.

    1. I have had a number of cats, but only the last one and this new one black. Somehow a black cat seems like the quintessential cat, though, the archetype. If you know anyone who can do absent Reiki, that could help Boo. Prayer can work too. And love, of course, always helps in whatever circumstances. Nevertheless it is heart-rending to part with our dears, I do know. My new companion is already 8 and has had a history that makes her wary and suspicious; so our gradual bonding is all the more special.

  8. It's so amazing how different they all are, isn't it? And how they each find their way into our hearts so uniquely. Love how you shared that so clearly here.

  9. Luv your take on the prompt. The elements of past, present and future nicely spliced

    Thanks for dropping by to read mine

    Much love...

  10. This is such a special tribute to the kitty-loves in your life. They were so lucky to have you and this new one is such a blessing and a beauty. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Oh Rosemary, what a beautiful poem. It went straight in to my heart and settled there, as cozily as a cat.