The Old Man and the Cat


The dormant doormat
Became a poor man’s prayer mat
And that, as they say was that.
One day a cat sat upon the one-time doormat, now a prayer mat…
And that was ‘not’ that.
‘That’ was something else.
The poor man didn’t mind
He had a destiny to find
And, if the blind could lead the blind,
Well, he could allow a lowly cat to share his fortuitous find.
And weren’t black cats lucky?
Or was it that they were ‘unlucky’
He didn’t really know
For no one told him if it was so
He had just heard something about it
When he was younger
And stronger
And had longer left to live.
“Forgive me, gracious and beauteous cat.” Spoke thus the poor man
Like a penitent servant in olden Japan
“I have little to share, but I share what I can;
You may sit upon this mat
And rest awhile.”
The cat began to smile-
And did so as a Cheshire cat can smile
So the memory of the smile will remain in the memory long after the cat itself has gone.
“Kind old man…” purred the cat “That thou sharest your mat with me delights me… well, considerably. And, as I am a creature of grace and favour, I shall grant you a wish that may be your saviour.”
The old man was in some surprise
You could tell this by the widening of his eyes
And the paling of his skin.
“Well…” did the old man begin
“Not for me do I need to wish;
But I would like to have a fish
Upon a dish, if that so please your noble kind – yes, a fish is what I’d wish for – nothing more.”
The cat nodded and closed his eyes
And there apparated (to the old man’s continued surprise)
A dish whereupon was a fish.
The cat smiled once again
“This fish for you will ease the pain of hunger; I myself must journey on
I cannot linger.”
The old man spoke one last thing
Before he died.
“But, gracious and majestic cat
How can you go without a good meal inside?”


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