Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Sensibility


I

Once, when a boy, I killed a cat.
I guess it's just because of that
A cat evokes my tenderness,
And takes so kindly my caress.
For with a rich, resonant purr
It sleeks an arch or ardent fur
So vibrantly against my shin;
And as I tickle tilted chin
And rub the roots of velvet ears
Its tail in undulation rears.
Then tremoring with all its might,
In blissful sensuous delight,
It looks aloft with lambent eyes,
Mystic, Egyptianly wise,
And O so eloquently tries
In every fibre to express
Consummate trust and friendliness.

II

I think the longer that we live
The more do we grow sensitive
Of hurt and harm to man and beast,
And learn to suffer at the least
Surmise of other's suffering;
Till pity, lie an eager spring
Wells up, and we are over-fain
To vibrate to the chords of pain.

For look you - after three-score yeas
I see with anguish nigh to tears
That starveling cat so sudden still
I set my terrier to to kill.
Great, golden memories pale away,
But that unto my dying day
Will haunt and haunt me horribly.
Why, even my poor dog felt shame
And shrank away as if to blame
of that poor mangled mother-cat
Would ever lie at his doormat.

III

What's done is done. No power can bring
To living joy a slaughtered thing.
Aye, if of life I gave my own
I could not for my guilt atone.
And though in stress of sea and land
Sweet breath has ended at my hand,
That boyhood killing in my eyes
A thousand must epitomize.
Yet to my twilight steals a thought:
Somehow forgiveness may be bought;
Somewhere I'll live my life again
So finely sensitized to pain,
With heart so rhymed to truth and right
That Truth will be a blaze of light;
All all the evil I have wrought
Will haggardly to home be brought. . . .
Then will I know my hell indeed,
And bleed where I made others bleed,
Till purged by penitence of sin
To Peace (or Heaven) I may win.

Well, anyway, you know the why
We are so pally, cats and I;
So if you have the gift of shame,
O Fellow-sinner, be the same.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Form:


Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: cat, truth, dog, pain, trust, evil, spring, power, peace, mother, joy, heaven, home, sea, light, memory

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Sensibility by Robert William Service )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  9. Alone, Maya Angelou
  10. A Winter Night, Robert Burns

Poem of the Day

poet Christopher Marlowe

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.
When two are stripped, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should love, the other win;

...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. Christmas Angel, louis rams
  2. To Bed! To Bed!, David Lewis Paget
  3. Lie, Sydney Bramer
  4. Christmas Holiday Thanks, louis rams
  5. Worthless, Sydney Bramer
  6. Wishing..., Almedia Knight Oliver
  7. I Do Love, michael walkerjohn
  8. My Pretty Baby, Vera Sidhwa
  9. Christmas Holiday Guest, louis rams
  10. Pretty Baby, Vera Sidhwa
[Hata Bildir]