Saturday, April 3, 2010

Penitence and "Pushkin"

 Today would have been the eightieth birthday of Jacques Fesch, the last man in France to be put to death by the guillotine, for the murder of a police officer.  His conversion while in prison awaiting his sentence was so complete that his cause for beatification was officially opened in 1993.  It seems fitting to remember him on Holy Saturday, the day after the Good Thief, Saint Dismas, arrived at his own place in paradise.  May Jacques Fesch pray for us sinners, and may he be numbered among the saints of the Church.

On another note, I absolutely loved this poem on today's Writer's Almanac. which reminded me of a beloved old cat I used to have:

The old cat sleeps
in the newly arrived sun. One more spring
has come his way
dropping a solar bath
on failing kidneys, old cat bones.
I check for the rise and fall of breath.

Once he stalked hares
across the yard, tracked down
chicken hearts with split-lentil eyes.
Fearless, disinterested, a poseur, a demideity.
He and the dog are strangers still
after years of eating side by side.

I remember times of wailing
into my couch, alone
and utterly baffled by life,
when suddenly a cat
would be sitting on my head.

Last week I pulled him snarling
from under a chair in Dr. Bacon's office,
held him while she examined his dull coat,
felt his ribs. Pressed where it hurt.
Eight pounds of fur and bone and mad as hell
but "He's certainly less anxious in your lap,"
she murmured, astonishing me.
I had no idea. Old cat, old friend,
have I reached some place inside,
added to your life
as you have to mine?

-- Marjorie Kowalski Cole 


Rodak said...

Thanks for the poem. Coincidentally, I posted a cat poem by Kay Ryan and a picture of one of my cats, named Feather, on my blog, just this morning.

Pentimento said...

Wow, that's a great cat, Rodak.

Rodak said...

She's a sweetie. She was literally pulled from the gutter as a barely weened kitten, full of fleas, by a neighbor boy. Because their house was full of dogs, he asked if we'd watch her for awhile until his parents were free to take her to the cat shelter. Needless to say, she never left our house.