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Cat Stories

The Raven – Redone

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Once upon a late night dreary
While watching TV, feeling weary.
Surfing through unusual, and violent TV shows…

While we nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping;
As of someone rapping, tapping at our small cat door.
“Tis some stray, ” I muttered softly, “Tapping at our small cat door –
Only this, and nothing more…”

Ah, distinctly I recall – it was during the late fall,
As domestic cats we have, scrambled in across the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; frightened of the constant slapping of the feral cat a’tapping – sure a sign of mind-crazed rapping!
For the horrid sound of door flap as it slammed against the door,

Even Coyote stopped his yapping, falling silent evermore…

Yet undeviating rapping of the constant, steady tapping
Thrilled me – filled me with a terror, that I’d never felt before;
So that now to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

‘Tis some stray cat wanting entrance at the path of my cat door –
Some stray cat is seeking entrance at the path of my cat door; –
This it is, and nothing more…

Presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Tom,” said I, “or Queen, your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was sitting, and suddenly you came a’ hissing,
And so loud you came a tapping, rapping at my small cat door,
That I ran to see you, scared to death – I opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.”

Deep into that darkness peering; so long I stood there seeing,
Daring, fitful dreams that no mortal dreamt before…
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And no words were ever spoken, only hisses in the wind.
Brave, I hissed into the darkness, and an echo hiss returned…
Merely this and nothing more…

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Back into my chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely, there’s a cat at my small door;
Let me see what type he is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;
Tis a cat and nothing more!

Suddenly, I flung the flap when, with many a scattering yap,
There stepped a big black cat of my neighbors house next door!
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he;
But with mien of lord or lady, perched before my small cat door –
Sitting on the dirt before me, just outside my small cat door –
Sat and stared, and nothing more…

Then the black cat sitting lonely near the small cat door spoke only,
Just one word, as if his soul in that single word did pour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a whisker did he flutter –
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Many cats have been before..”
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the cat hissed, “Nevermore!”

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the cat whose fiery eyes now burned through my small cat door;
This and more I sat divining, with my pets gathered behind me,
glancing through the small cat door that the flash-light gloated o’er,
But whose clear plastic flap with the flash-light gloating o’er,
He shall tap, ah, nevermore!

“Stray cat!” said I, “Feral cat! – Feline still, if pet or stray! –
Whether tempter sent, or tempest tossed thee here at my cat door,
Desolate yet still undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
At this home by pets we’re stunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Are you – are you homeless? – Tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the feline, `Nevermore.’

`Be that word our sign of parting, pet or feral!’ I shrieked upstarting –
`Get thee back into thy home – go on through the neighbor’s door!
Do not bully my poor felines, and recognize that I hath spoken!
Leave my frightened pets unbroken! – disappear from my cat door!
Take thy tail from out my heart, and stop rapping at my door!”
Quoth the feline, “Nevermore.”

And the feline, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting…
Terrorizing all my kittens just outside my small cat door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a tom cat’s that is dreaming,
And the flashlight o’er him streaming throws his fur upon the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!


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