You Never Knew My Cat, Walt Whitman

WALT! Old Camerado! This is me, hollering after you.
(If you can address me across seventy years I guess I can reciprocate and holler right back at you.)
I want to complain to you about my cat, you old son of a gun.
You have told fibs, mon ami, not to mention untruths,
Equivocations, whoppers, claptrap, fudge, and taradiddles
About animals, old amigo. You overestimate them a whole lot.
Because they cannot talk, you say they would talk sense if they could talk.
You say my cat, being an animal, is placid and self-contained.
Well, let. us call it self-satisfied and I’ll give you that one.
But oh, mon chou, my kabbage
(You put a K in Kanada and I one in kabbage),
When you say my cat does not whine about her condition
Wu simply do not know my cat, old stranger.
Walt, meet the cat. Cat, may I present Mr. Whitman? Sit down
(You on the chair, Cat, and Walt on the floor).
Make each other’s acquaintance. Start grumbling, Kitty;
Mr. Whitman is going to be plumb interested.
You say, Walt, that Kitty does not lie awake weeping for her sins?
No, but she does for mine, and that is much worse.
She is never dissatisfied? Listen, brother, you err.
You, errant, err on a big scale.
She has no mania for owning things? Oh, Mister!
Oh, Mister, Mister, Mister! She owns the house And all that lies therein except one chair, yet she raises Cain
Because I want to borrow my own chair once in a while.
Not one animal is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth?
Oh, brother! Bro! Cut it out, you’re killing me.
This cat, feline, this little striped bundle of nerves and conceit,
This jumper at sudden noises and sudden conclusions,
This sorry little snob . . . not respectable?
Not respectable . . . you’ll have to tell her that one yourself
And if she’s as happy as you say, maybe you think she can stand it,
But me, I’m taking cover. Let me know when it’s over,
If you’re still alive. This is going to be good.