Cat, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Cat

The fat cat on the mat
may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
and tender men.

The giant lion with iron
claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
in gory jaw;
the pard, dark-starred,
fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
leaps on his meat
where woods loom in gloom–
far now they be,
fierce and free,
and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
kept as a pet,
he does not forget.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Got one of these sitting on your mat, looking innocent?

On the blog Middle-earth Reflections you can find an interesting article about cats in Tolkien’s subcreation, concentrating on Tevildo, Prince of Cats and servant of Morgoth, what little is known of Queen Berúthiel and her cats, and some general musings on how cats have been viewed throughout the ages, plus a few comments.

Feline fall from favour: cats turn villains in Tolkien’s stories.

Some more info on the poem can be found at the Tolkien Gateway.
Featured image:  Illustration by Alan Lee, from Tales from the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien

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