Guest Poet Elsie Hemming


Purring puss, beautiful beast,
Fabulous feline,
With softest fur or smokey blue.
Warm and cuddly too.
Your ruff stands around your face,
A fitting frame for you.
Curled in a ball, fast asleep.
How lovely you look!

Arch your back, swish your long tail;
Show off all your tricks.
Lick your paws, dab your funny face.
Tell me, what's your taste,
Chicken, salmon, beef or lamb?
Do make up your mind, Patch.
Very soon I'm going out,
I've a train to catch.

Your feral friends have to fend
For themselves - alone.
There's no tinned cat food in the wild.
How would you survive?
Yes, you do catch the odd mouse,
I remember that well.
Yes, you did kill a snake once,
I gave you a bell.

If I should set you free, Patch,
Would you be grateful?
Would you miss the life you have led?
Warmth, free food, soft bed?
Is freedom more important
Than a safe, cosy flat?
Could you stir yourself to hunt?
To die, or grow fat?

September 1997

Elsie Hemming's Questions:

(1) I am trying to point out the difficulty of "fat cats" of every kind to find freedom. Does this come across in my poem?
(2) Do we all prefer to keep our creature comforts rather than face the cold, wild world outside our front gate?
Thank you for any comments.

Correspond with Elsie Hemming at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop