Mr. T.S Eliot was by and large, fair in his judgments.
That is, if you overlook some of his embarrassing critical pronouncements.
And his hasty and ill conceived pursuit After Strange Gods,
Which won him many side snarls and some polite nods.
But I always wonder,
Why did he so shamelessly surrender?
To the charm of the mundane and un-dramatic cats.
Dedicating not just an isolated rhyme,
But one whole Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
To describe their lives and lores,
Their tantrums and their daily chores,
Their diets, their dates, their habits and habitat.
The broad backed hippopotamus rolling in slime and mud
The tons of lard that squats with a deafening thud
The flittering of bats or the hooting owls,
Or the activities of the more exotic kinkajou or the mungabey
Are hardly the animals that delight
But they often spurred Eliot’s’ fancy to flight.
Much to the consternation of the average reader
Or any other sentient creature.
Here in UK or the more distant lands
Wherever English poetry is still cherished or tolerated,
One can fault his choice on many counts.
Reasons of taste is but one, but there are so many more,
In my mind the evidence steadily mounts.
So let’s forget it and come straight to the point.
Why did the traditional favourite,
The trusted and faithful dog
Failed to elicit even a rhyme or jog?
His inspiration to compose in its honour a rattling good song.
Was it mere poetic license?
Or sheer dotage or indolence
Or subliminal longing for his porpentine cat.
Useless in many ways; for one
They couldn’t even scare a rat.
Lazy and indolent
Waiting for the soft October evening to settle
And they just curled about the house and fell asleep.
Peaceably asleep! While the poor dogs slave it out
Be it the St Bernard or the Doberman pinscher
Or the agile Grey Hound, or the Bulldog with its deadly snout
The loveable Pomeranian or the loyal Alsatian
Do not figure even in a minor role
In any of his poem or play
Or his other writings
Critical, ecclesiastical, secular or lay.
I don’t mention the Wasteland
Because it cast the dog in a rather demeaning role
As being no friend to man.
Murder in Cathedral had scope for half a dozen canine roles
But obviously Mr. Eliot had other things in mind.
Now, therefore the time has come
When conscious efforts must to be made
For addressing the injustice and correction of taste
The excess in one direction
The addiction to cat lore
Must be amended
And the dog firmly established at the centre stage
As in the days of yore.
With this noble end in view
You are privileged to witness this Preview
Of some of the eminently successful dogs
They have varied penchants and different inclination
But they are well known in their circles
Some are celebrities of sorts
But their fame has not spread as far as it ought
They are being inaugurated to world at largeWith their recent pencil sketches and the reports of their charge