Poetry Friday:Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke

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Poetry Friday is hosted Jone at Check it Out

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We have a black cat, who, due to our lack of imagination and inability to come to a collective family decision, is called Cat.  Cat, however, has risen above his lackluster name. He has attitude in spades, a hefty sense of entitlement, and owns any space he chooses to inhabit – it’s his world, and he lets us be a part of it when he chooses.  We love him.

Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday:Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke

  1. How have I lived my life without this Rainer Maria Rilke poem? I didn’t know it! LOVE it! We’ve had kitties of all colors and stripes over the years, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the black ones. Met a delightful one this week at a local cat shelter here, The Tabby House. (No room in my inn, I’m afraid, but I hope lots of them get adopted this month!)

  2. Tara, we have a black cat, too! We call him Bobby. He’s so fat and lazy that he LAYS DOWN to eat. And for all his bigness, he’s got the most kitten-ish meow. Cats definitely enrich our lives, don’t they? xo

  3. One set of grandparents called one dog and one cat, “Puppy” and “Cat”, and they appeared to be their favorites, too. That part in the poem about seeing oneself in a cat’s eye feels very right, and although cat’s do need us, they seem to want to be more than equal. Rilke writes it like it is!

  4. It’s as much fun to read these cat comments and your Cat commentary as to read the poem! Our cat is a rescue, called Hem (named Hemingway). He’s a long-haired orange boy with lots of spunk.

  5. Ditto to enjoying the comments as much as the poem! Our cat is the surviving brother of a pair that were named George & Ira Gershwin. Ira is still with us. He’s scared of everything. But, when he bestows an opportunity to hold him or gives any of us in the house some lovey time we feel special indeed. Beautiful and fun peom by Rilke … she knows cat, that’s for sure.

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