Day 14.1: NaPoWriMo 2021

A Cat Like That – A Still Life with a Canary and a Hungry Cat
(in the style of an Atwood poem)

Here is a parrot
feasting on red currants.
It severs
blood-red deep gems
from each squat
fragile stem.

Here are plums.
Ripe damsons
with their deep clefts
Resting, open
in wicker weave.

Here is a vase, tall
elongated blue,
holding rose
blossoms, soft
as velvet lips, lazily
held aloft by
leaves green, veins
stroked by light.

Here are vines that
spill from that vase.
They balance
the air.
An afterthought,
to fill what is

And here is a cat
white as new snow.
Almond eyes
the shade
of rose leaves,
and it paw confesses
to the demise
of a small yellow bird.

Here is a cat
that knows
it’s a cat.

This image first came to my attention at Visual Verse Anthology on Instagram. The poem’s inspired (as in the style) of “Genre Painting” by Margaret Atwood. Image is public domain, a firescreen 1825 block print on paper. The Cooper-Hewitt Collection at the Smithsonian Design Museum, “Still Life with a Canary, Or a Hungry Cat”

13 responses to “Day 14.1: NaPoWriMo 2021”

  1. And here is a poet
    nowhere to be seen
    but seated nearby
    capturing a cat
    a masterwork

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is…(I’m running through my superlatives for one that isn’t watered down) superlative. Superior. Boy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe I should start studying still lifes…


      1. Diane Seuss a couple of years back ( more now, I guess) did a whole book of poems based on still life paintings. I think she had an underlying theme in mind as she did them, but it’s not a bad idea for you.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s certainly worth keeping in mind. Might be too late for this chapbook challenge though. Don’t think I’ll be submitting this year. No point; he just doesn’t like my stuff. 😂 I always have more fun with your prompts anyway.


  3. And here is an emoji,
    yellow in colour
    of a pair of hands clapping
    from Hobbo
    and Dauphy

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I had to read this twice because the first time I read it, I was so distracted by the fact that the bird I had noticed in the picture was definitely not a canary (and was relieved you called it a parrot). So I got to the end of your poem (“demise of a small yellow bird”) and finally a bell rang and I looked at the picture again. Then I was able to enjoy your poem for what it is – a brilliant rendering. If you don’t mind me playing the role of my Mum… I think currant (as in the fruit) is spelled with an “a” not an “e”.


    1. Thanks for the heads-up. Corrected. The Smithsonian names this firescreen is “A Still Life with a Canary and a Hungry Cat” so I can’t take credit for misidentification. 😂 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No indeed. And it was my eyes that were lazy not the naming party. 🙂


        1. It’s an amazing image though, don’t you think?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That cat is definitely the hero and the villain. A very self satisfied subject!

            Liked by 1 person

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