Victoria Sackville-West

(1892 - 1962 / England)

The Greater Cats - Poem by Victoria Sackville-West

The greater cats with golden eyes
Stare out between the bars.
Deserts are there, and the different skies,
And night with different stars.
They prowl the aromatic hill,
And mate as fiercely as they kill,
To roam, to live, to drink their fill;
But this beyond their wit know I:
Man loves a little, and for long shall die.

Their kind across the desert range
Where tulips spring from stones,
Not knowing they will suffer change
Or vultures pick their bones.
Their strength's eternal in their sight,
They overtake the deer in flight,
And in their arrogance they smite;
But I am sage, if they are strong:
Man's love is transient as his death is long.

Yet oh what powers to deceive!
My wit is turned to faith,
And at this moment I believe
In love, and scout at death.
I came from nowhere, and shall be
Strong, steadfast, swift, eternally:
I am a lion, a stone, a tree,
And as the Polar star in me
Is fixed my constant heart on thee.
Ah, may I stay forever blind
With lions, tigers, leopards, and their kind.


Comments about The Greater Cats by Victoria Sackville-West

  • Susan Williams (2/2/2018 3:42:00 PM)


    Finally, a poem by this poet that sends chills down my spine- -the power, the theme, the images, all come together into an experience that will stay in my mind. Awesome write! Excellent and onto my fav list so I shall read it over and over! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/19/2012 12:28:00 AM)


    This is what I love about Poetry.....once in awhile, a poem like this. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



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?

Read poems about / on: faith, strength, believe, change, death, star, spring, tree, night, cat, tiger, sky



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]