Vernon Scannell


A Case Of Murder - Poem by Vernon Scannell

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


Comments about A Case Of Murder by Vernon Scannell

  • (5/26/2018 3:07:00 AM)


    'a buzzing machine of soft black stuff'
    'his eyes squeezed beads of salty prayer'-

    love those lines
    (Report) Reply

    (6/26/2018 8:32:00 AM)

    gay af mate

    0 person liked.
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  • (5/19/2018 1:19:00 PM)


    its a lovely yet dark and gruesome poem and i have an exam soon about the poem but thanks (Report) Reply

  • (4/27/2018 6:54:00 AM)


    loved IT! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
    : D
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2018 1:15:00 PM)


    Andrew Mayers, or Mr Mayers, the King of 34 Baker Street, who submitted this poem, is my favourite all-time English teacher. A legend. Like him, this is dark and mysterious but leaves you wanting more. (Report) Reply

  • (3/22/2018 2:46:00 PM)


    This is a calm poem😓 (Report) Reply

  • (3/1/2018 7:15:00 AM)


    man this poem was hilarious, interesting and maybe slightly traumatising but my 12 y/o self loved it ahaha. thanks @ my english teacher for teaching us how to analyse poems w/ this (Report) Reply

  • (1/26/2018 7:00:00 AM)


    Our English teacher in our high school read this to us, i was traumatised, i want home and hugged my cat, but then forgot its just a poem, i then started reading more poems :) (Report) Reply

  • (1/24/2018 9:24:00 AM)


    when was this made (Report) Reply

  • (4/9/2013 9:06:00 AM)


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

  • (4/9/2013 9:05:00 AM)


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

  • (10/2/2008 2:06:00 PM)


    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.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/14/2007 5:30:00 PM)


    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! (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: cat, dog, alone, dark, murder, fear, hate, wind



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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