Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poor little wash-rag

Cultivate your garden, said Goethe and Voltaire,
Every other task is wasted and dead-born;

Narrow all your efforts to a given sphere,
Seek your Heaven daily in a bit of ground.

So my cat behaves. Like a veteran,
He brushes well his coat before he sits to dine;

All his work is centred in his own domain,
Just to keep his spotless fur soft, and clean, and fine.

His tongue is sponge, and brush, and towel, and curry-comb,
Well he knows what work it can be made to do,
Poor little wash-rag, smaller than my thumb.

His nose touches his back, touches his hind paws too,
Every patch of fur is raked, and scraped, and smoothed;
What more has Goethe done, what more could Voltaire do?

Hippolyte Taine

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