Cat Wang As Anthropologist

Christian humans have
some neat stories. Easter, yes,
but after Easter

too. Master snorted
when I told him a homeless
man with bandaged hands

touched me through the gauze
on my walk today. Easter
Monday? I asked. He

turned up the NewsHour.
His word was moonlight to me,
he smelled to high heaven.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

2 thoughts on “Cat Wang As Anthropologist”

  1. This is most interesting Tom. There are several different perspectives on Life in this poem: that of the cat of course, but then we begin to see things through the eyes of the homeless man; it’s a short step from there to an attempt to contemplate the perspective of Christ, and behind all this lies that of the poet – and possibly of the Buddha, given the oriental name of the cat and earlier poems in the sequence.
    There’s suffering, there’s compassion; there’s the gulf between individual souls and the sea of consciousness in which all must swim.
    So a great deal to think about, and all in these few understated lines. Bravo you!


  2. This poem stays with the reader long after the reading. The staying power seems at least in part to flow from its narrative imagery and polyphony, the story the poet tells and the voices the poem describes. Yet what seems to stay freshest and to keep showing us new things is the physical experience–the tangible and olefactory encounter with the homeless man. And the pun in teh idiomatic expression in the last line gives the reader that zing of pleasure and wonder we have in hte intersection of finite and infinite, the ways in whihc matter shows us more than itself.


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