Archie, Algie, Griss and an un-named tortoiseshell

On Tuesday, my first trip to the post office in nearly a week brought me a contributor’s copy of a poetry anthology, Cat Lines, published in aid of the charity El Capitán Animal Project, (the web page is in German), which funds the care of stray cats on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura.

There were four poems of mine published in the book – possibly there was space for so many as they are all very short!

I knew Summer Sport – a piece which was written for Griss the grey semi-feral who was the first of our small colony – would cause problems because of the formatting, but I was disappointed to see that it had been run together with Algie, so I’ve decided to post the latter here:


Under laurel leaves, slick
with sunlight, pink nose snuffles
wild strawberries.
Cream petals drift and seagulls
mew overhead.

I’m not sure whether I named the piece Archie after the only cat I ever met called Archie, or whether I just thought it made a suitable foil to Algie – which was inspired many years ago by the cat in the photo.

As for the last of the four poems, that’s where the un-named tortoiseshell comes into it. It was one of the very few pieces of creative writing I managed while at the Swanwick Summer School in August. (Which is more a comment on my lack of focus than on the inspiration available at Swanwick.)


Dark ears above long grass.
Hunkered down,
the kitchen cat
pretends to be a fox.

I’d actually noted down the image early in the morning of the day when Alison Chisholm (editor of Cat Lines) asked if I’d like to contribute to the anthology. It’s not easy to find publishers for poetry, and it’s certainly not often that a scrawl in a notebook is accepted for publication on the day it’s written. This last year I’ve submitted very little of my writing for publication; I don’t make New Year resolutions, but maybe I’ll find time to send out more poems in 2011.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

2 thoughts on “Archie, Algie, Griss and an un-named tortoiseshell”

  1. You may think the tortoiseshell was unnamed, but that’s only because her name was deep, inscrutable and singular.

    I like both poems, preferring the first because of what you do with the colours.


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