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Friday, August 31, 2018

The Tom-Cat

Guest Blogger Dept.: Let’s welcome Don Marquis to these pages. Best known for the free-verse, lower-case writings of the reincarnated cockroach Archy and his alley-cat friend Mehitabel. Marquis was a newspaperman at heart, and worked for New York’s Evening Sun and Herald-Tribune during the ‘teens and ‘twenties of the last century. His writing also appeared in all of the popular magazines of the era, and were collected into many of the 35 books that bear his name. Here’s a sample of Marquis’s not-so-free verse.


Don Marquis
A Tom-cat comes to wail,
And he chants the hate of a million years
As he swings his snaky tail.

Malevolent, bony, brindled
Tiger and devil and bard,
His eyes are coals from the middle of Hell
And his heart is black and hard.

He twists and crouches and capers
And bares his curved sharp claws,
And he sings to the stars of the jungle nights
Ere cities were, or laws.

Beast from world primeval,
He and his leaping clan,
When the blotched red moon leers over the roofs,
Give voice to their scorn of man.

He will lie on a rug to-morrow
And lick his silky fur,
And veil the brute in his yellow eyes
And play he's tame, and purr.

But at midnight in the alley
He will crouch again and wail,
And beat the time for his demon's song
With the swing of his demon's tail.

Don Marquis

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