10 October 2007

Talking to Albert (poem)

It's been a while between posts. I'm working on another about India (so check back soon), but in the meantime, here's something old and something new.


Talking to Albert

This, they say, is how it is
The light from this cat sitting
On the morning windowsill
Travels out through glass
Past the thrush on the fence
Through the dawn wind over
Dark valleys steaming ridges
The old moon and so on

If, they say, the cat returned
It would still be caught rough-tongued
Licking its arse but the sun
By then would be gone
What use therefore I say for
A cat without sun and how
I say could I feel a small nose
Press my palm

Ah, they say, that requires

This is an old poem, from the mid '90s. It was published in the anthology of selected entries from the
New Zealand Poetry Society's 1994 International Competition: Woodward I; Harper R (eds) 1994. The old moon and so on. Wellington, NZ Poetry Society Inc. 61 pp. ISBN 0-473-02797-6.

1. Miep, owner of M & I's big house at Eastbourne.

Photo and words © 2007 Pete McGregor


zhoen said...

A poem that causes a wry smile, yes.

R.R. said...

Very thought-provoking, very cat-like; and the Cat of Property is looking good, too.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, pleased it made you smile :-)

r.r.: I still haven't had a satisfactory answer to the question. Meanwhile, I'll just continue to enjoy cats like Miep and Ralph and Tigger (none of whom were the actual inspiration, but could easily have been).

Peregrina said...

Pete: I'll admit to being very slow to cotton on to the title of this poem, in spite of thinking "And physics?" when I first reached the last line. A few days later, friends introduced me to the book "Are Angels OK?" ( This had its origins in the Are Angels OK? Project of 2005 that was set up to mark the International Year of Physics).


"Talking to Albert" would happily sit in this book, keeping company especially with a series of bee poems by Glenn Colquhoun (wherein he pays homage to an equation in physics) and another series by Vincent O'Sullivan relating to spiders.

And going back to the last two lines of "Talking to Albert": I love Margaret Mahy's description of mathematics as "that dancing partner of science."


["Are Angels OK? The parallel universes of New Zealand writers and scientists." Edited by Paul Callaghan and Bill Manhire. Victoria University Press 2006]

pohanginapete said...

Peregrina, yes, of course, "and physics" — although the distinction in that field's mostly arbitrary, I think. You raise a good point though: it's good to see science and poetry dancing together, contrary to Coleridge's assertion that "Poetry is opposed to science" (he delivered some astute insights, but this was not one of them).

Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent poem, it works on so many levels

pohanginapete said...

Thanks, CGP :-)