“Why He Stroked The Cats” by Merill Moore.

Merrill Moore, a psychiatrist in Boston, born in 1903 in Columbia, Tennessee, is one of the poets I love most.

His poem “Why He Stroked The Cats” always fills me with such happiness over language (laconic) and imagery, I have read it many, many times.

I have posted it before and here it is again- Why He Stroked the Cats
He stroked the cats on account of a specific cause,
Namely, when he entered the house he felt
That the floor might split and the four walls suddenly melt
In strict accord with certain magic laws
That, it seemed, the carving over the door meant,
Laws violated when men like himself stepped in,
But he had nothing to lose and nothing to win,
So in he always stepped. Before him went
Always his shadow. The sun was at his back.
The ceilings were high and the passageway was so black
That he welcomed the great cats who advanced to meet him,
The two of them arching their soft high backs to greet him;
He would kneel and stroke them gently under their jaws,
All that is mentioned above being the cause.
–Merill Moore

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