The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, XII: Cat

The poem “Cat” was intended as being a poem in the marginalia in the Red Book, a piece written by Sam Gamgee as a touched-up version of an older piece of “comic bestiary lore of which Hobbits appear to have been fond” (The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, p. 232). It is a fairly short poem so I have quoted it below in it’s entirety instead of writing a summary of it which would be only one sentence short.

The fat cat on the mat
may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
and tender men.

The giant lion with iron
claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
in gory jaw;
the pard dark-starred,
fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft,
leaps on his meat
where woods loom in gloom –
far now they be,
fierce and free,
and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
kept as a pet,
he does not forget.

– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadill, p. 93-95.

Comments

I found no need to point out any specific characters or features, seeing the shortness of the poem. It reflects a fat housecat, lying on a mat dreaming. The poem infer that while the cat it fairly domesticated, the fierce qualities of lions and great cats are still residing within the fat housecat. I found the poem quite cute and true in it’s essence, I have scars on my hand to prove it. I am sure that anyone who has been close to a cat would agree to this.

Have you read this poem?  Please comment and tell us what you think of this story and if you have anything to add!

 

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