Golden Legend, Poetry by Richard Van Holst

Genres: Funny; Religion; Cats

Description; Suggested by a poem called “Pangur Bán” found in the margins of a manuscript and written around the ninth century by an unknown Irish monk.

Golden Legend by Richard Van Holst

I used to like the noise

and stalk his stirring quill

and he would smile, until

the day I stepped in ink

and pattered golden foot-

prints down his page. And then

my monk was cross and grabbed

me with harsh hands. But soon

he took a rag and wiped

my yellowed paws—he said

it looked as if I’d fished

for sun‘s last light in pools

at vespers. Then he stroked

my fur with kinder touch.

He kept me a long time

from climbing on his desk,

but now we both have learned

our passions to restrain.

Now I am much more calm,

wise in the ways of words,

content to watch him scratch

with merest twitch of tail.

I sleep when I get bored.

Then I get up and stretch

and wander off to see

what Brother Cook has in

the pot. Mayhap there’ll be

a bit of Friday fare.

Of course I take good care

then not to get too close

for Cook, he kicks sometimes.

But I am swift to dodge!

He got me only once

and then the Abbot frowned

and made him read to me

out of a gilt-edged tome.

It was about a monk

who preached to all the birds

portrayed in vivid hues—

you’d swear those fowls could fly

but there they stayed to hear

as still as roosting hens.

Oh how I wish I’d been

to hear that holy man,

for such a homily

would much improve my soul.

But soft! There goes a mouse!



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