All Souls Day: lover, cat, mother, son, child

Alexander Best

To my Estranged, on the Death of a Cat



Her spirit, yes.

Intensely I loved it;  the years flew, and

occasional fur.

And the body that housed her spirit, that little body

– I loved her body, too.


Wake me she would, by

soft-claw botheration of eyelids;  she,

guardian of my sleeping eyes.

And if it pleased her to

walk over my face to get to her bowl

– well, she walked over me.


Where are you, vanished lover?  Untouchable fact who

even now lies in my bed.   Once, you were a tender sprite;

and she was my Bastet *, exact and serene

– both of you my old souls.

That little animal’s death – where were you?


Remember, my barren life when she came to me

from out of the tall grass?  You were not there, but

remember still.

Met me at the train station, daintily crossing two sets of tracks;

led me home in a heart-made vehicle borne on gravel paws.

From her I knew patience and living in the moment;  that

Beauty kills, then Life is renewed via licks of the tongue – a

miniature slice of sandpaper-ham.

To have known such a creature!


We bury a childhood friend,

We bury a father,

We bury distinctive old ladies,

We bury a cat.

Must we also bury love?




* Bastet  –  Cat-goddess of ancient Egypt




D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

“Brooding Grief”



A yellow leaf from the darkness
Hops like a frog before me.
Why should I start and stand still?

I was watching the woman that bore me
Stretched in the brindled darkness
Of the sick-room, rigid with will
To die: and the quick leaf tore me
Back to this rainy swill
Of leaves and lamps and traffic mingled before me.




An 18th-century Children’s prayer



Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake,

I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.