Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

November 11, 2007

A Selection of Kitten Verse by Oliver Herford

_____

 
 

 
 
 
Oliver Herford was born in Sheffield, England in 1863 and moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois when he was twelve, then onto Boston seven years later. After schooling back in England and then in Ohio, he moved to New York City with his wife Margaret Regan, where he became the writer, illustrator, and poet, known as the American Oscar Wilde.

Below is a selection of his kitten poems, accompanied by his illustrations for them. They are selected from The Kitten’s Garden of Verses (1911) and The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten (1904). Each light “Rubayait” kitten verse is accompanied by Edward Fitzgerald‘s English translation of Omar Khayyám‘s Rubayait.

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 
 
Foreign Kittens
 
 
Kittens large and Kittens small,
Prowling on the Back Yard Wall,
Though your fur be rough and few,
I should like to play with you.
Though you roam the dangerous street,
And have curious things to eat,
Though you sleep in barn or loft,
With no cushions warm and soft,
Though you have to stay out-doors
When it’s cold or when it pours,
Though your fur is all askew–
How I’d like to play with you!

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 
 
In Darkest Africa
 
 
At evening when the lamp is lit,
        The tired Human People sit
And doze, or turn with solemn looks
        The speckled pages of their books.

Then I, the Dangerous Kitten, prowl
        And in the Shadows softly growl,
And roam about the farthest floor
        Where Kitten never trod before.

And, crouching in the jungle damp,
        I watch the Human Hunter’s camp,
Ready to spring with fearful roar
        As soon as I shall hear them snore.

And then with stealthy tread I crawl
        Into the dark and trackless hall,
Where ‘neath the Hat-tree’s shadows deep
        Umbrellas fold their wings and sleep.

A cuckoo calls—and to their dens
        The People climb like frightened hens,
And I’m alone—and no one cares
        In Darkest Africa—down stairs.

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 
 
I sometimes think the Pussy-Willows grey
Are Angel Kittens who have lost their way,
And every Bulrush on the river bank
A Cat-Tail from some lovely Cat astray.

 
Quatrain from original Rubaiyat

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 
 
Strange—is it not?—that of the numbers who
Before me passed this Door of Darkness thro’,
Not one returns thro’ it again, altho’
Ofttimes I’ve waited for an hour or two.

 
Quatrain from original Rubaiyat

Strange, is it not? That of the myriads who
Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover me must travel too.

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 
 
‘Tis but a Tent where takes his one Night’s Rest
A Rodent to the Realms of Death address’d
When Cook, arising, looks for him and then—
Baits, and prepares it for another Guest.

 
Quatrain from original Rubaiyat

‘Tis but a Tent where takes his one day’s rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest.

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 
 
A moment’s Halt, a momentary Taste
Of Bitter, and amid the Trickling Waste
I wrought strange shapes from Mah to Mahi, yet
I know not what I wrote, nor why they chased.

 
Quatrain from original Rubaiyat

A Moment’s Halt—a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste—
And Lo!—the phantom Caravan has reach’d
The NOTHING it set out from—Oh, make haste!

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 
 
And fear not lest Existence shut the Door
On You and Me, to open it no more.
The Cream of Life from out your Bowl shall pour
Nine times—ere it lie broken on the floor.

 
Quatrain from original Rubaiyat

And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour’d
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.

 
 

 
 

_____

 
 

 
 

 
 

_____

Advertisements

September 26, 2006

Punky Dunk and the Spotted Pup

_____

   


   

PUNKY DUNK AND
THE SPOTTED PUP

   

THIS LITTLE STORY IS TOLD
AND THE LITTLE PICTURES
WERE DRAWN FOR A GOOD
LITTLE CHILD NAMED
   

   

______________________________

   

Published in the Shop of
P.F. VOLLAND & CO.
CHICAGO

COPYRIGHT, 1912,
P. F. VOLLAND & CO.,
CHICAGO, U. S. A.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   
   

Author Anonymous

   
   

_____

   


   

          Punky Dunk on a day in the middle of May
          Looked around like a wise little cat,
          And he said with surprise: “Can I trust my own eyes?
          Well, what do you know about that?”
   

_____

   


   

          For a wagon of blue, with a man in blue, too,
          At the sidewalk was just backing up.
          And the man brought a crate that was heavy of weight
          And inside was a gay spotted pup.
   

_____

   


   

          Now Punky felt hurt as he gazed very pert
          At the gay spotted pup in the box,
          For the pup was all white, save for spots black as night
          On his back and his tail, ears and sox.
   

_____

   


   

          “Meow!” said the cat, “That pup is too fat
          To run or to climb up a tree.
          The baby won’t like that gay spotted tike
          As well as I know he likes me.”
   

_____

   


   

          Punky said: “He may run, but he won’t be much fun,
          He may set, or may bark, or may point.”
          You see, Punky’s heart was beginning to smart
          And his nose was put clear out of joint.
   

_____

   


   

          The pup was let out, and he ran all about
          So happy was he to be free.
          Then Punky said: “Meow!” the dog said: “Bow-wow!”
          And Punky said: “Look out for me!”
   

_____

   


   

          He raised up his hair and tried hard to scare
          The pup, so he would run away,
          But the pup shook his head and in dog talk he said:
          “No, Punky, I’ve come here to stay.”
   

_____

   


   

          Then Punky, quite rash, at the pup made a dash,
          But the pup stood his ground very bold.
          And Punky then stopped so quick that he dropped
          And over and over he rolled.
   

_____

   


   

          Then the pup with a bark started in for a lark
          But Punky thought he meant to fight,
          And he ran up a tree just as fast as could be
          And he stayed there until it was night.
   

_____

   


   

          Punky Dunk has made up with the gay spotted pup
          And with Baby they play every day.
          Don’t you think, little friends, that this little tale ends
          In the very best kind of way?
   

_____

   

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with

almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or

re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included

with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

   

_____

   

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.