17 March 2006

Hamlet's Cat

This wonderful parody of Hamlet's famous soliloquy was written by Jack Kolb, Department of English, UCLA. It's funny even if you're not a Shakespeare fan and have never read Hamlet. All that's required is to have lived with a cat at some time. It's been around for a while, but every now and again I like to go back, dust it off, and smile all over again. Hamlet's Cat To go outside, and there perchance to stay Or to remain within: that is the question: Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather That Nature rains on those who roam abroad, Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet, And so by dozing melt the solid hours That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state A wish to venture forth without delay, Then when the portal's opened up, to stand As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep; To choose not knowing when we may once more Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball; For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob, Or work a lock or slip a window-catch, And going out and coming in were made As simple as the breaking of a bowl, What cat would bear the household's petty plagues, The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom, The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears, The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will, He might his exodus or entrance make With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear, Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard, But that the dread of our unheeded cries And scratches at a barricaded door No claw can open up, dispels our nerve And makes us rather bear our humans' faults Than run away to unguessed miseries? Thus caution doth make house cats of us all; And thus the bristling hair of resolution Is softened up with the pale brush of thought, And since our choices hinge on weighty things, We pause upon the threshold of decision.

1 Comments:

Blogger lili said...

I have this taped to the catbox closet door, and back in the day when I let my cats out, I would recite that very poem to them BEFORE they could go out. Cats appreciate poetry, but only a few stanzas...along with the bumpin'lovin and staring at the door then back at me then back at the door, EllenCherryCharles once just turned heel and stalked off to nap (fuming in tail position)while I finished the poem. :D

3/18/2006 10:10:00 AM  

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