Chris Kouwenhoven


Shakespaw


To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within, that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The wet or icy cold inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the door is opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
The uncleaned litter box; the vacuum's roar,
The infant's careless squeeze, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten? Who would bulldogs fear,
Or toms trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than venture forth to unguessed miseries?
Thus caution doth make housecats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is sleekened down to the smooth plume of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.

Shakespaw

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