How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted

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How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted
by Guy Wetmore Carryl
This poem was published in Carryl’s anthology Grimm Tales Made Gay in 1902. The poems are parodies of Grimm's Fairy Tales.

A poet had a cat.
There is nothing odd in that—
      (I might make a little pun about the Mews!)
But what is really more
Remarkable, she wore
      A pair of pointed patent-leather shoes.
            And I doubt me greatly whether
                  E’er you heard the like of that:
            Pointed shoes of patent-leather
                        On a cat!

His time he used to pass
Writing sonnets, on the grass—
      (I might say something good on pen and sward!)
While the cat sat near at hand,
Trying hard to understand
      The poems he occasionally roared.
            (I myself possess a feline,
                  But when poetry I roar
            He is sure to make a bee-line
                        For the door.)

The poet, cent by cent,
All his patrimony spent—
      (I might tell how he went from verse to werse!)
Till the cat was sure she could,
By advising, do him good.
      So addressed him in a manner that was terse:
            “We are bound toward the scuppers,
                  And the time has come to act,
            Or we’ll both be on our uppers
                        For a fact!”

On her boot she fixed her eye,
But the boot made no reply—
      (I might say: “Couldn’t speak to save its sole!”)
And the foolish bard, instead
Of responding, only read
      A verse that wasn’t bad upon the whole.
            And it pleased the cat so greatly,
                  Though she knew not what it meant,
            That I’ll quote approximately
                        How it went: —

“If I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree” —
      (I might put in: “I think I’d just as leaf!”)
“Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough” —
      Well, he’d plagiarized it bodily, in brief!
            But that cat of simple breeding
                  Couldn’t read the lines between,
            So she took it to a leading
                        Magazine.

She was jarred and very sore
When they showed her to the door.
      (I might hit off the door that was a jar!)
To the spot she swift returned
Where the poet sighed and yearned,
      And she told him that he’d gone a little far.
            “Your performance with this rhyme has
                  Made me absolutely sick,”
            She remarked. “I think the time has
                        Come to kick!”

I could fill up half the page
With descriptions of her rage—
      (I might say that she went a bit too fur!)
When he smiled and murmured: “Shoo!”
“There is one thing I can do!”
      She answered with a wrathful kind of purr.
            “You may shoo me, and it suit you,
                  But I feel my conscience bid
            Me, as tit for tat, to boot you!”
                        (Which she did.)

The Moral of the plot
      (Though I say it, as should not!)
Is: An editor is difficult to suit.
      But again there’re other times
When the man who fashions rhymes
      Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot!