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U3A Writing: Monty

David Bennett casts an affectionate eye on Monty, the last in a long line of pampered cats.

Monty, the last in a long line
Of pampered cats,
Stretches languorously on the mat.
Claws unsheathed in the ecstasy
Of a moment that finished
With a small cry
Of contentment.

Is he aware of those that stretch beside him
In our memory?
Of Bonnie and Ben and Joe,
Of Sable and Mink, those
High-fashion felines,
Long loved and long gone
To pastures rich in rodent prey
Where, no matter what was taught,
The chase was everything
And nothing was ever caught.

He follows their path around the garden.
Like them he sprays the broom
And defecates behind the jasmine.
Both bushes seem to flourish
On this excreted waste, and
Both will be flowering quite soon.
The nitrogen is clearly to their taste.

Yet he does allow the entry of Vincent,
The one-eared neutered Tom
From Number 12.
Vincent is a very ugly cat who,
In the early stages of his making,
Was given the wrong head for his body,
The head of a baby horse, it seems.
Perhaps he feels like a tiger
In his dreams.

I watch as Monty hides,
Caught in the race memory of his breed,
Anxious to prove his skills
As a predator cat, and to satisfy
An inborn need to hunt.
Head, body and tail lie flat.
He waits, while the birds
Flutter from the trees.
Brought by the certainty
Of their four o’clock feed.

A carpet of thickly strewn seeds
Scattered by a bird-loving wife.
I see his jaws chatter,
Imagining the feast to come.
He lies even flatter on the soil,
Hind legs wriggle to find firm purchase,
Then he pounced, headlong for the flock.
He misses, as ever, and the birds
Are gone.
But the game will be played again
Tomorrow at four o’clock.

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