REVIEW: The Rodent Not Taken by Jennifer McCartney
Curated by New York Times best-selling author Jennifer McCartney, this collection of poems—discovered at a cat café in Milan, Italy—showcases the breathtaking skill, witty intelligence, and breadth of knowledge possessed by the cat mind. McCartney knew she’d found something special as she translated the feline riffs on famous poems, beat poetry, rhyming verse, haikus, and limericks.
From musings on a tardy dinner (“Feed Me”) to a trip to the vet (“A Cat’s Revenge”), the “clueless yammering” of sparrows in a birdbath to the pleasures of an empty box, these are special additions to the genre. Soon, in fact, the scribe was inspired to add some work of her own, as well as charming line drawings and photographs. This slim volume will entice anyone enamored of poesy and the fine arts—particularly cats, or people who like cats.
Dear Ms. McCartney,
At the risk of outing myself as a barbarian, I must confess that (with a few exceptions) poetry by and large is not my catnip. Yet, how could I resist not only poems about cats but poems by cats? Short answer: I couldn’t. The idea of literary cats lounging in the sunshine by the great statues and buildings of Milan, sipping catpuccino and writing verse caught my attention like a scurrying mouse trying to escape into a mouse hole and I had to pounce on the chance to read them.
From classical rhyming, to beat poetry, to haiku, to limericks, these cat verses are sure to contain something that will make you purr with pleasure.
Two rodents diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not pursue both
And being one feline, long I crouched
And watched one scurry as far as I could
To where it veered into the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was plump and wanted wear;
Though as for that mouse-grey hair,
Had rendered them really about the same,
And both that morning equally played
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back, to snack.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two rodents diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less fit and spry,
And that has made all the difference.
There once was a cat who loved books
He liked bookshelves that had lots of nooks
He thought especially nice
The tomes about mice
One page and the kitty was hooked
A cat is a treat
Soft fur, a miracle of
There, I feel as if my IQ has jumped 10 points and I should be wearing a beret, vaping some catnip, and drinking an espresso from a tiny coffee cup. B+