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A Poem by Edgar Allan Poe's Cat

Mark Sherman - Friday, August 19, 2016
[The Poe Museum is always glad to learn of poets Poe has inspired. We recently received an email from Vik Shirley, a poet based in Bristol in the UK. Vik writes, "I recently completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature (with Creative Writing) and was awarded First-class honours. For my final project I wrote a poetry sequence called Death: The Human Experience, based on an exhibition at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, which featured various artefacts and symbols of death from around the world and throughout history. I based each poem in the sequence on a different exhibit and one of those was the death mask of Edgar Allan Poe...When I was carrying out research for my poem, I came across the museum website, in addition to an online 2014 article of yours in Biography.com, which I found fascinating and very useful. My poem is in the voice of Edgar's cat Catterina. I was inspired to learn that she died shortly after the death of Edgar." Here is the poem for your enjoyment.] catterina-cropped-b Catterina's Farewell After Edgar I always clawed the walls when he left, sank into a fantastic gloom. Fetched presents to his empty room, licked my paws, preened myself, waiting, waiting. But this time, there was something more; one develops a feeling for these things, a hunch, a penchant for the peculiar in this house. My tortoiseshell pelt prickled from that very first day, from the moment he departed. I remember it well. I slunk around his trunks – circling his doomed luggage, brushing up, pressing against his legs, weaving eights, provoking, coaxing for one final caress. To explain: we were close. I would sit on his shoulder while he wrote, everybody knew I adored him. I learned from the master; was wise to the clues, the omens, symbols. The days went by. I was wondering, wondering, fearing the worst. My stomach churned, I yearned to nibble his finger, flip the tip of my tail in his presence, issue him with a slow blink, a purr, but no, still, nothing, nothing. Then yesterday the news bludgeoned us without mercy or warning and confirmed the unthinkable. It was an enigma, a conundrum, and not, as I was hoping, a hoax. So, now it's time for me to go. My tell-tale heart is tired of talking. I will follow my soulmate into the shadows, trace his footsteps with paws, all the way to Nevermore. (c) Vik Shirley 2016 blog-Edgar-and-Edgar-lowres
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