It is seldom mentioned that cats are one of the great lawyers of the animal kingdom. Say “no” to a cat and it will look at you with an expression that answers: “Please define ‘no.’” And so on. I don’t think it would surprise any of us if a lawyer ate our food and destroyed our glassware. Maybe the biggest surprise is that we actually go to sleep while these creatures are on the loose in our homes.
Fe-Lines, the new UIP volume of French cat poetry by translator Norman Shapiro, offers cautionary verse on the more legalistic facets of feline personality with “The Cat and the Bat,” by Paul Stevens (1830-1882) :
The traitorous rogue impenitent,
Eager to break his word, or bent
On fouler villainy, will use
Any excuse or wily ruse
To justify his infamy.
For instance, take a certain cat,
Whose life was saved because a rat
Once nibbled on a net to set him free.
In gratitude Sir Tom had sworn
That any beast of rodent nation born
No longer had to fear his enmity.
Now then, one day it came to pass that he
Had got his clutches on a hapless bat.
“I’d spare you as a rat,”—so meowed our crafty sinner—
“But as a bird you’re going to be my dinner!”
So saying, he wrung his neck. And that was that.
As the poem makes clear, it is in your best interest to learn as much about cats as possible. What better way than with a free copy of Fe-Lines? You can win such an item for something you’re probably doing all the time anyway: photographing your cat. Post photos of your favorite cats living la vida libro in your favorite bookstore. Each week we’ll pick a favorite feline photographer to win a copy of Fe-Lines.
Just as they hold their imperious court over bookstores and book nooks, cats rule the internet. We are tip-toeing onto their domain to host a contest at our Facebook page for Fe-Lines: Cat Poetry through the Ages. How do you get there?
First, go to https://www.facebook.com/FeLinesPoetry. Second, move the cat(s) off your keyboard. Third, give the FeLinesPoetry page at FB a Like.