poet Vernon Scannell

Vernon Scannell

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

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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A Case Of Murder # 449 poem on top 500 Poems
3,8 out of 5
28 total ratings
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Comments about A Case Of Murder by Vernon Scannell

  • The trashy artist (11/19/2020 3:45:00 PM)

    My English teacher made us make a comic about this poem :)

    haha- it's a little gross to tell your students that they must draw this (one of my classmates have an animal ^b^se trigger so that's even worse)

    Anyways, I personally think that the poem is *alright* but please keep in mind, don't ask your students to draw poems about topics like these

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  • jacksepticeye101 (9/29/2020 9:33:00 AM)

    My friend laughed her head off when she read that the cat died

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  • spooked (9/20/2020 12:50:00 PM)

    10/10 very spooky. enjoy

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  • bastards (9/7/2020 11:11:00 AM)

    i am studying this rn guys, and im half way through

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  • Ceslyn (8/8/2020 7:21:00 AM)

    I was also about 12-13 when I was given this poem to study. My mum was horrified, but it is a great use of words and let me on to love English and study language.

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  • aaaaa (7/10/2020 6:04:00 AM)

    " daddy's stick" wow epic innuendo

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  • jim watter (6/19/2020 3:50:00 AM)

    i like th pom it was good, will red it agan. gud poem

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  • Babbu (6/9/2020 10:04:00 AM)

    i did not like it: D

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  • GREEN ALIEN (5/6/2020 3:49:00 AM)


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    4 person liked.
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  • say wallahi (4/18/2020 3:28:00 AM)

    follow me on tikotk @charlidamelio

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  • spike 18 (3/24/2020 12:43:00 PM)

    it was about being alone and how the boy hated the cat and hewanted a dog

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  • My dad (3/9/2020 9:16:00 AM)

    I love you well done on your poem

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  • Kiwi ?? (3/9/2020 9:15:00 AM)

    Very well done on ur poem

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  • Southern Pig Tailed Macaque (11/4/2019 2:17:00 AM)

    The southern pig-tailed macaque, also known as the Sunda pig-tailed macaque, is a medium-sized macaque that lives in southern Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is known locally as the bruh.

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    sopi.x(2/6/2020 4:38:00 AM)

    flaga laga ling laga u m.f.b

    8 person liked.
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  • hi im a (5/6/2019 6:37:00 AM)


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  • Ozzie Vissa (3/29/2019 8:22:00 AM)

    The cat, half-through, was cracked like a nut
    Ah man loved that part

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  • Negro (3/29/2019 8:21:00 AM)

    Negro negro negro negro negro

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    No me gusta(5/22/2020 5:17:00 AM)

    Why is this here?

    hi im a(5/6/2019 6:37:00 AM)


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  • Epic games (2/15/2019 5:44:00 AM)

    Yeet yeet yeet yeet yeet

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  • Maya Peeples the poet (5/26/2018 3:07:00 AM)

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

    love those lines

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    6ix9ine(6/26/2018 8:32:00 AM)

    gay af mate

    11 person liked.
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  • master chief (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

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    10 person liked.
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Read poems about / on: cat, dog, alone, dark, murder, fear, hate, wind