TIME IN THE MEASURE OF NINE

Photo of my cat from British Museum.

Photo of my Egyptian cat from British Museum.

“Time’s measured in a thin line on a cat’s back.”
“O sacred cat! Your mouth is the mouth of the god Atum” *
Nine lives, “tick //TocK//tick” clicks the art of

space and form moving first largo then allegro vivace.
The andante sonata of life becomes the sound of
the way Rome looks, stays as eternal as love.

Purple-ribboned skies extend the emperor’s roads.
Then shadows, dark as catacombs,
frighten the bravest of crows and chanticleers.

“Let no Chaldean clairvoyant compute your
time of existence” nor guess your chosen one.
Cats and men have died for love–

but for living we are born,
not to worship fresh fears
or build shrines to cool starlight.

Feline grace scrapes against walls of slavery,
the terrain tilts.  As the poles waver at twilight,
rain settles and sleep silences.

Drip-drops even-out the hours,
turn minutes into eons,
count the grains of star dust.

Pain arches, bell-curved like the cat’s back,
intensifies and diminishes, a life wave.
Corinthian columns march,

dreams creep onstage, move
to the center mark and wait
while the spotlight stops.

There “make-believe” enters stage right
waits on an iron balcony
by a wall of red bricks.

The masquerade proceeds.
Where birds perch,
day mews on the night.

1. Egyptian hymn from the 4th Century BC*
2. Horace *

From Claudia’s Poem: 2 lines: ” time’s measured in a thin line on a cat’s back” and
“tick //TocK//tick” to respond to the challenge prompt to use a line from Claudia or Brian’s challenge poems. Posted for d’Verse Poets Pub MTB challenge 2/26/15.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 2/25/2015

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26 thoughts on “TIME IN THE MEASURE OF NINE

  1. that took me back to rome a bit…
    but for living we are born,
    not to worship fresh fears
    or build shrines to cool starlight….. loved esp. that part… what we’re made for… certainly not to worship fears…and how often are we doing just that… here’s to living life fully… and fearless….

  2. i like how you expanded claudias thought on time…the increasing and diminishing…
    we were certainly made for living and not letting our fears control us…
    very cool response gay…smiles

  3. I really like this, Gay. We are born for the LIVING….not for worshipping fresh fears! Your poem has a classical tone & is deep and meaningful, a poem to be savored, a great use of Claudia’s two lines.

  4. I love how you used the cat metaphor throughout: ‘bell-curved like the cat’s back’, the feline grace and the day mews…It takes me back to the Forum in Rome – there is a classical, controlled feel to this.

  5. “but for living we are born, / not to worship fresh fears” – these are my favorite lines too. Such a relevant reminder against the backdrop of man’s fury in so many places.

  6. Feline grace scrapes against walls of slavery,
    the terrain tilts. As the poles waver at twilight,
    rain settles and sleep silences… especially loved that stanza…

    you took on a stretch in time, Gay! nice building upon C’s thoughts and expanded them into this brilliant write

  7. I like this so much, being a cat lover, and would like to share it with my fellow cat lovers on facebook if that is alright with you, with your name of course, Gay. The element of time has been written about for ages, but here you capture the culture and mystery of the world along with the world of the cat. This is so great –
    “Let no Chaldean clairvoyant compute your
    time of existence” nor guess your chosen one.”

    ..and the star dust and twilight and masquerade leads me to so many other images and feelings!

    • Yes Kathy – that will be okay. I am Gay Reiser Cannon on Facebook. I am not sure of my security settings but you may friend me there if you like and I will friend you back. Oh my that sounds so teenagery, doesn’t it? — smiles.

  8. I appreciate the backgrounder notes Gay ~ I thought this part was particularly lovely:

    “Let no Chaldean clairvoyant compute your
    time of existence” nor guess your chosen one.
    Cats and men have died for love–

    Embrace and live fearlessly like a cat, smiles ~

  9. Somehow, Gay we all become both adolescent & sage,historian, mensch, & poet there on Facebook; smile. You blew the prompt out of the lion’s paw bathtub for sure, immersing us in feline mythos, & grace, dipping into antiquity to explicate some universal truths; really dug this one! I liked the lines /the andante sonata of life becomes the sound/of the way Rome looks, stays as eternal as love/.

  10. The opening drew me in as I have a fascination with cats as they have a mystical aura about them. It is said cats always land on their feet. I wonder if that is really true.

  11. Wonderful! I am a cat lover and in another age, would have been a worshipper. The background info is excellent. The lines, Let no Chaldean compute….” We are in control of our lives, loves, destinies and not some supposedly wise seer. “Live fearlessly as a cat…” Just wonderful. I love the tone of this, the history, the going back to ancient times and bringing it forward.

  12. Enthralling poem from beginning to end – with Claudia’s cat as the jumping off point. Loved the use of catacombs and the bell curve of the cats back. And the lines
    Then shadows, dark as catacombs,
    frighten the bravest of crows and chanticleers.
    Beautiful!

  13. This is gorgeous- rich with echoes of history and mythology. Your line about the sonata of life becoming the sound of how Rome looks resonated with me as I currently live in Italy and have been enthralled by my trips to Rome. We are born for living and you’ve placed us in this eternal context to play our part in life’s wave.

  14. I am terribly allergic to cats! So that aspect of the poem is harder for me to attune myself too–but you use the metaphor of rebirth or the wish for it–rebirth is not the right word–so skillfully, and the cat metaphor–especially the arching in pain–is really well-wrought. A great sounding poem as well- lots of wonderful consonants! It works really well and you integrate Claudia and Brian’s lines beautifully. thanks. k.

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