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Calling All Cats

Well, I didn’t really expect to be able to post until later this week, but sometimes things just fall into your lap... I had dinner with my old friend Keith and just generally caught up on things. One thing about him: My obsession with lobster rolls is nothing compared to his interest in the Broadway show Cats. You would think that someone who likes cats as much as I do would like the show, too, but that’s one interest we don’t share. In any case, his interest has led to many interesting experiences over the years. For example, in 1993 he hosted a Halloween party and invited not only his own friends, but also the entire cast of Cats. I had completely forgotten about my contribution to the party, which was writing the invitation; Keith still had a copy of it. Since the show is based mainly on a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot, I wrote the invitation in verse.



We beg your pardon, Jellicle cat.
Forgot our manners, imagine that.
We swoon in the vicinity
Of such divine felinity.
So, risking fresh indignity
By gross familiarity,
We follow form, take off our hat,
We bow and re-address: O CAT!


We dare address you in this way
To give ourselves the chance to say
What any fool can plainly see,
That Jellicle cats we wish to be.


We long to dance under Jellicle moon,
But our best hour happens to be noon.
Three Hundred sixty nights and four
We toss and turn and loudly snore.
But once a year, Allhallows Eve,
What happens then, you won’t believe.
We sing and dance and caterwaul
In tribute to the Jellicle Ball.


Of course, such tribute cannot claim
The right to call you by your NAME.
We know before you’ll condescend
To treat us as a trusted friend,
“Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream.”


To pay our “evidences of respect”
(That Jellicles all, by right, expect),
At half-past six, when night’s begun,
The date, October thirty-one,
When the Jellicle moon is waning
(That’s even if it’s raining!),
Tout Vas Bien will host a feast
In honor of all Jellicle beasts.

Although writing the invitation slipped my mind, I did remember the party fondly. About ten or so members of the cast attended. They were easy to recognize because they were the only guests not in costume. So now I have two poems to my credit. It’s fitting that in both cases my muse was a mere cat or, ahem, Cats.

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