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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, January 09, 2009

do you dance, minnaloushe?

Ah, one of the sweetest lines from one of my all time favorite cat poems, I'm sure you know it well: William Butler Yeats' The Cat and the Moon, from 1919. There's a full moon out tonight in a lightly wreathed sky after days of flooding storms up here in Washington State. What a relief to stand on dry ground and look up to that bright face.

A snippet of the poem:

Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?

Yeats was making a case for the cat and moon being kin, both subject to changes and mystery:

. . .Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

I always mutter that last part to myself when events are moving faster than I can quite comprehend them.

This excellent page has the poem in entirety, along with a small verse Yeats wrote to entreat a squirrel. According to the commentator, that cat of the changing eyes belonged to Yeats' muse Maud Gonne, whom I really must look into more.

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