Concert of Cats

No image today – ironically (see below) – because of copyright issues. However, if you hit this link, it will take you to the image which inspired the poem, a lithograph by Breugel.


One plays the cornet
One considers the violin
One looks dementedly
At the old mandolin
All can read music
Though some think, Why bother?
We’ll just croon along
To the noise from our brothers

They are cats having fun
Just one’s on the fence
There’s also a mouse
Looking dreadfully tense
Back in the mouse house
(A faux music stand)
Do those cats even know
Lunch is so close to hand?
No matter. They’re singing
They’re singing, and how –
It’s clear those cats know
They are the cat’s meow.


The act of creating art inspired by another work of art is known as ekphrasis, from the Greek word meaning ‘description’. One of the most famous examples of ekphrasis is ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by the Romantic poet John Keats. This poem isn’t that, nor does it aspire to be; it’s just me having a bit of fun.

Using art/poetry/fiction/TV/movies/articles/music, etc., as inspiration is one of my favourite things to do. The umbrella term is ‘intertextuality’ i.e. one text inspires another text.

If you are new to writing poetry, a good way to get the juices flowing is to find an interesting image and make as many notes on it as you can. Jot answers to questions like these: what is happening in the picture? How many characters? How are they related? When is the image set? What about colours/objects/background? What is inside the bag/pocket/box, etc.? Any obvious emotions? What about smells? What are they saying to each other?

You get the idea. Now pick out what interests you from your notes, and just start writing.

Do please let me know if you have a go.

An Interesting Fact About Goldfish

Photo by imso Gabriel on

He is green around the gills;
He is floating on his side.
You can see that he is ill;
You assume that he has died.
An ordinary mistake
Goldfish owners often make.

He can be resuscitated:
He is merely constipated.

A garden pea, minus shell
Rescues him from goldfish hell.
Soon, he’s swimming round the bowl,
Can’t recall his bunged-up hole.
Little fishy’s full of beans.
Moral: always eat your greens.

Callie the Gerbil, RIP

independent, she had her pride
liked sitting by our pet dog’s side
snug in her bed, she upped and died

nothing bad she ever said
her best hobby: being fed
it makes me sad to think she’s dead

she lived for food and food and food
ever the lady, she always chewed
she never burst, but she’s still dood

she liked to sit alone to feed
privacy her greatest need
she popped her clogs; poor Callie’s deed.

Another Walk to School

Little Kitty’s heading for an athletic career:
Look, Mummy! I can jump over dog diarrhoea!


This was inspired by my friend’s daughter when she was three: the walk to school was paved with excrement so Kitty made a game of it before her mum could stop her.

This is from my The Book of Pooetry collection. Read more here.