A Case Of Murder Poem by Vernon Scannell

A Case Of Murder

Rating: 3.9

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

Beyonce Carter 09 April 2013

the boy is 9 years old there are 9 syllables (roughly) in each line cats have (supposedly) 9 lives

105 48 Reply
Beyonce Carter 09 April 2013

the boy is 9 years old there are 9 syllables (roughly) in each line cats have (supposedly) 9 lives

82 50 Reply
Rebecca Blumsom 02 October 2008

I learnt this poem when I was 13 for my ESB. I haven't forgotten it! My little sister is learning it for a Poem comp at her school. I got a distinction, She'll get a first.

73 53 Reply
Rachel Mchale 14 January 2007

I read this poem about 18 years ago when I was at school and thought it was great not boring as I expected poetry to be. I've just found it now and realised that it's still great!

72 42 Reply
hi im a 06 May 2019


25 58 Reply
Big daddy w Harder daddy 07 February 2023

I'm a big daddy W

3 4 Reply
shan duarte anj 31 May 2022

this.... is sad i really feel pity for the cat and the ending is quite intrestin

2 1 Reply
Chinedu Dike 12 November 2021

Really an interesting story, well articuated and nicely brought forth with a tinge of humour. A beautiful creation.

2 0 Reply
Bharati Nayak 12 November 2021

My sympathy with the boy and also the poor cat! The boy was terrified and tried to drive away the cat.But the cat was killed without the boy intending it so.The boy was more terrified and the fear grew bigger in his mind.

2 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 11 November 2021

Due to Andrew Mayers, we are able to read this extra-ordinary 9 syllables poem about a 9 year old boy who is left with a cat, I know that a cat (in stories) has 9 lives. Truly extra-ordinary poem 5 Stars full. Thank you so much Andrew!

3 0 Reply
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