international daze

Someone told me this morning that it was international cat day and I got all excited as it meant I wouldn’t need to look very far for an idea for a blog post: I have poems about cats aplenty – and poems aplenty about cats – as well as photos.

Algie: white & black cat in the undergrowth

Algie

Under laurel leaves, slick
with sunlight, pink nose snuffles
wild strawberries.

Cream petals drift and seagulls
mew overhead.

I then checked and found that the rumour was unfounded. The best I can find is that February 21st is International Mother Language Day, first announced by UNESCO in late 1999 and intended to “promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.”

Almost any post I make is likely to celebrate my mother tongue, which is English, but Algie was English, too, as English as a Devonshire cream tea, so if I want to promote cultural diversity, I’ll have to do rather better than that.

Here, then, is the poem Bubbles and its Spanish counterpart (a transcreation), which were published together by Topka years ago as a dual language picture book illustrated by Sonia Sánchez.

Bubbles

The bubbles in my bath are white;
try as I might
they never change
despite a range
of gels and goos in rainbow hues —
pinks, greens and blues.
The chemists say
it’s child’s play
to reproduce the scent of fruits,
herbs, flowers and roots.
But still the foam
is monochrome.

Page from children's picture book "Bubbles"/"Pompas" by Gwyneth Box illustration by Sonia Sánchez

Pompas

Cada noche en mi baño brotan
pompas de jabón,
frágiles, blancas.
Añado geles: rosas, verdes,
azules, naranjas…
pero siguen blancas.
Los expertos saben duplicar
el dulce olor
de cualquier flor,
raíz o planta.
Pero no cambian de color
las pompas blancas.

As you can see, although there were no cats explicitly mentioned in the poem, Sonia very sensibly added one to the pictures.

Of course, not all cats are quite as placid as Algie, or as domesticated as the one who enjoys David’s bath-time adventures in Bubbles.

cat with small rat

Cosas de caza

Spring sunshine washes the patio where four well-fed house-cats sit, half-heartedly juggling the scuttling shadow of a mouse between them. One by one, each gives a short flurry of dabs and jabs, tumbling and tossing the chittering ball of fear, until, losing interest, he lounges back against the warm stones and lets the next one take his turn.

 
Rather than ending on that gruesome note, let’s close with a couple of photos. First, one of the same cat in a very different mood.

cats sleeping

And finally one of Felix, the couch cat.

tuxedo cat asleep on sofa

Now, since Algie’s photo was taken in England and all the other photos in Spain, I’m wondering whether the post title shouldn’t have been “international doze”.
 

Author: don't confuse the narrator

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

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