#49

Angela Dalinger
Milk for the Cat by Harold Monro
When the tea is brought at five o’clock, 
And all the neat curtains are drawn with care, 
The little black cat with bright green eyes 
Is suddenly purring there. 
 
At first she pretends, having nothing to do, 
She has come in merely to blink by the grate, 
But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour, 
She is never late. 
 
And presently her agate eyes 
Take a soft large milky haze, 
And her independent casual glance 
Becomes a stiff, hard gaze. 
 
Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears, 
Or twists her tail and begins to stir, 
Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes 
One breathing, trembling purr. 
 
The children eat and wriggle and laugh; 
The two old ladies stroke their silk: 
But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
Transformed to a creeping lust for milk. 
 
The white saucer like some full moon descends 
At last from the clouds of the table above; 
She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows, 
Transfigured with love. 
 
She nestles over the shining rim, 
Buries her chin in the creamy sea; 
Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw 
Is doubled under each bending knee. 
 
A long, dim ecstasy holds her life; 
Her world is an infinite shapeless white, 
Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop, 
Then she sinks back into the night, 
 
Draws and dips her body to heap 
Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair, 
Lies defeated and buried deep 
Three or four hours unconscious there.
 
More art by Angela Dalinger here.
 
Recommended listening: Man Like You – Patrick Watson
 
The same song covered by my Israeli friend Daniella here
 
 
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