The Great Cat: No. 18

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The feline has inspired poetic adoration since the days of the pharaohs, and the poems collected here cover an astonishing range of periods, cultures, and styles. Poets across the continents and centuries have described the feline family-from kittens to old toms, pussycats to panthers-doing what they do best: sleeping, prowling, prancing, purring, sleeping some more, and gazing disdainfully at lesser beings like ourselves. Here are Yeats's Minnaloushe, Christopher Smart's Jeoffry, Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat, T S Eliots Rum Tum Tugger, William Blake's tyger and Rilke's panther. Here are tributes from Sufi mystics, medieval Chinese poets, and haiku masters of imperial Japan, from Chaucer, Shelley, Borges, Neruda, Dickinson, and Shakespeare. Here are the cats of Mother Goose, and the one who wore the hat for Dr Seuss. The Great Cat will delight cat lovers everywhere, celebrating as it does the beauty, the mystery, the gravity, the grace, and, of course, the unassailable superiority of the cat.