Skip to comments.Macavity: The Mystery Cat -- Never Found at the Scene of the Crime
Posted on 08/19/2016 8:24:55 PM PDT by poconopundit
| The Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot (1939) is one of most creative and fun collections of poetry ever written in the English tongue. With splendid illustrations by Edward Gorey, the book is very short -- only 56 pages.
The genius of this collection of 15 playful poems on the adventures of anthropromophic cats is that Eliot beautifully describes the many "personalities" of cats -- and humans, for that matter. Reading this is a cat lover's must.
These poems are part of our culture already: they inspired the Broadway musical CATS, for instance. And the late great actors, Jon Gielgud and Irene Worth, recorded a reading you can find on YouTube.
I had forgotten about this particular poem: Macavity: The Mystery Cat, but the parallels to this election cycle are so obvious I just had to post this.
Macavity: The Mystery Cat
by T. S. Eliot
Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw --
Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
Macavity, Macavity, there no one like Macavity.
He's outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And when the Foreign Office finds a Treaty gone astray,
Macavity, Macavity, there no one like Macavity.
T.S. Eliot recorded this as well. He put a lot of expression into it.
Also have Sylvie Smith reciting her poem “The Galloping Cat.” She gets all the nastiness of it into her voice.
2 cute by half.
Pics aren’t working here.
Correction: Stevie Smith.
thank you for posting this. Anything Eliot is ALWAYS appropriate!!!
Never much of a cat person, I see nothing but crooked cats. Not only crooked, but sneaky, demanding, and constantly preening. These cats prowl all night, coming home to sleep and to rest their furry little heads on one who tends to their needs and sees they are well fed and happy. Far too independent, but constantly needing attention.
Logan’s Run was read several years before the movie was made and seen. Peter Ustinov was the perfect man for the character he played. The film itself was shot in the building in which I worked. The Dallas Trade Mart. For weeks on end the office personnel employed in the many company offices located on the floors above the atrium, would come out on the balconies to watch the action, thinking ...goodness this is certainly not the glamorous world we thought it to be. At that time, Michael York was the larger star shining, with J. Agutter a relative newcomer. Peter U, was not seen, not remembered. Just as Farrah is not remembered being seen. Richard Jordan, perhaps but it has been years since I’ve heard any mention of his name. His only other film seen and remembered is Hunt for Red October. The man died at a relatively young age.
19 of them own me. People abandon them since my home is next to an old school parking lot that backs the dry comal creek and greenbelt. It feeds the Comal river.
Love the cats, people that just dump them not so much.
Love the book, thank you for the you tube link.
Macavity, as in cavity, an empty nothingness that nonetheless makes an impression. (I suspect the Apple fanatics won’t appreciate the name much.)
So yeah, the name and the poem applies to our political opponents.
I’ve read only one TS Eliot poem, which seemed a bit heavy, as I recall.
This one was lively and hilarious.
Love the poem...hated Cats...worst play I ever saw!
Thanks poco !
While we don’t really mind that this cat succeeds,
because after all, he’s just a cat...
We hope the person you’ve meant this poem to mirror, will soon be caught, because after all, she’s just a rat.
Ditto. No pics for me, either.
Love all of T.S. Eliot’s cat stuff.
19? Wow. We have six “dumped” cats ourselves (used to be eight) — the result of us having lived on a rural TN back road for six years. Love ‘em all.
Sarah Brightman covered this on a collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs. Love it.
One of my favorite Broadway productions.
Love this number from ‘cats’:
(Video contains pics of adorable cats)
You might like this one...
The Naming of Cats
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isnt just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first Im as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT
First of all, theres the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name thats particular,
A name thats peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond theres still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover
But the cat himself knows, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
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