Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

In Memoriam - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

Beauty (they called her) wasn't a maid
Of many things in the world afraid.
She wasn't a maid who turned and fled
At sight of a mouse, alive or dead.
She wasn't a maid a man could 'shoo'
By shouting, however abruptly, 'Boo!'
She wasn't a maid who'd run and hide
If her face and figure you idly eyed.
She was'nt a maid who'd blush and shake
When asked what part of the fowl she'd take.
(I blush myself to confess she preferred,
And commonly got, the most of the bird.)
She wasn't a maid to simper because
She was asked to sing-if she ever was.

In short, if the truth must be displayed
_In puris_-Beauty wasn't a maid.
Beauty, furry and fine and fat,
Yawny and clawy, sleek and all that,
Was a pampered and spoiled Angora cat!

I loved her well, and I'm proud that she
Wasn't indifferent, quite, to me;
In fact I have sometimes gone so far
(You know, mesdames, how silly men are)
As to think she preferred-excuse the conceit
_My_ legs upon which to sharpen her feet.
Perhaps it shouldn't have gone for much,
But I started and thrilled beneath her touch!

Ah, well, that's ancient history now:
The fingers of Time have touched my brow,
And I hear with never a start to-day
That Beauty has passed from the earth away.
Gone!-her death-song (it killed her) sung.
Gone!-her fiddlestrings all unstrung.
Gone to the bliss of a new _regime
Of turkey smothered in seas of cream;
Of roasted mice (a superior breed,
To science unknown and the coarser need
Of the living cat) cooked by the flame
Of the dainty soul of an erring dame
Who gave to purity all her care,
Neglecting the duty of daily prayer,
Crisp, delicate mice, just touched with spice
By the ghost of a breeze from Paradise;
A very digestible sort of mice.

Let scoffers sneer, I propose to hold
That Beauty has mounted the Stair of Gold,
To eat and eat, forever and aye,
On a velvet rug from a golden tray.
But the human spirit-that is my creed
Rots in the ground like a barren seed.
That is my creed, abhorred by Man
But approved by Cat since time began.
Till Death shall kick at me, thundering 'Scat!'
I shall hold to that, I shall hold to that.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 28, 2012



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