A Case Of Murder
They should not have left him there alone,
Alone that is except for the cat.
He was only nine, not old enough
To be left alone in a basement flat,
Alone, that is, except for the cat.
A dog would have been a different thing,
A big gruff dog with slashing jaws,
But a cat with round eyes mad as gold,
Plump as a cushion with tucked-in paws---
Better have left him with a fair-sized rat!
But what they did was leave him with a cat.
He hated that cat; he watched it sit,
A buzzing machine of soft black stuff,
He sat and watched and he hated it,
Snug in its fur, hot blood in a muff,
And its mad gold stare and the way it sat
Crooning dark warmth: he loathed all that.
So he took Daddy's stick and he hit the cat.
Then quick as a sudden crack in glass
It hissed, black flash, to a hiding place
In the dust and dark beneath the couch,
And he followed the grin on his new-made face,
A wide-eyed, frightened snarl of a grin,
And he took the stick and he thrust it in,
Hard and quick in the furry dark.
The black fur squealed and he felt his skin
Prickle with sparks of dry delight.
Then the cat again came into sight,
Shot for the door that wasn't quite shut,
But the boy, quick too, slammed fast the door:
The cat, half-through, was cracked like a nut
And the soft black thud was dumped on the floor.
Then the boy was suddenly terrified
And he bit his knuckles and cried and cried;
But he had to do something with the dead thing there.
His eyes squeezed beads of salty prayer
But the wound of fear gaped wide and raw;
He dared not touch the thing with his hands
So he fetched a spade and shovelled it
And dumped the load of heavy fur
In the spidery cupboard under the stair
Where it's been for years, and though it died
It's grown in that cupboard and its hot low purr
Grows slowly louder year by year:
There'll not be a corner for the boy to hide
When the cupboard swells and all sides split
And the huge black cat pads out of it.
Submitted by Andrew Mayers
Vernon Scannell's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Case Of Murder by Vernon Scannell )
- I am Thy Woman O my Protector, Aftab Alam
- थिरिँ बिरिँ #12, Ronjoy Brahma
- Wandering With Affliction, Donald R Charon
- थिरिँ बिरिँ #11, Ronjoy Brahma
- Thoughtful Interlude, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Another Look At Easter, Denis Martindale
- थिरिँ बिरिँ #10, Ronjoy Brahma
- Lost Love Redux, Robert Kane
- When I see u, dipa bhattacharyya
- This Flower, Rohit Sapra
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Not Waving but Drowning, Stevie Smith
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Heather Burns