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Why Our Cat Likes Toccatas
by
Timothy Walsh


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I know it must have something to do
††††††††††† with the counterpoint,
the separate strands of melody interweaving,
the simultaneous motions, nimble as
††††††††††† multiple mice running mazes.
Why she likes this, I can guess
because I, myself, have a thing for toccatas.
While she listens, her ears perk up
††††††††††† and twitch,
whether itís harpsichord or organ
or Frescobaldi played on a small string band.
And, yes, sheíll also chase a small piece of string,
pursuing and pouncing on the wriggling
††††††††††† tail end
as if it were a snake or an escaping strand
of melody.
She likes plain fugues and canons less
for reasons Iím not quite sure≠
except that I, myself, also prefer toccatas
†††††† †††††to fugues or canons.
Sometimes, for a really good toccata≠
††††††††††† by Boellmann, Bach, or Gigout≠
I turn the volume way up,
and even the spiders seem to enjoy it,
up in the corners of the room
where they weave their webs of fine-spun silk
while the tip of the catís tail rises and falls,
††††††††††† rises and falls,
sinuous as a conductorís baton.

††† From Blue Lace Colander (Marsh River Editions, 2008).
††† Used with the authorís permission.

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Timothy Walsh grew up in New Jersey but has spent the past three decades in Wisconsin. He currently directs the Cross-College Advising Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Timothy’s latest collection of poetry is When the World Was Rear-Wheel Drive: New Jersey Poems (Main Street Rag Publishing). His inspiration comes from walking or bicycling whenever he can, and being on or near the water whenever possible—­canoeing, kayaking, sailing, or sitting by the shore. He also enjoys tending a garden of roses, climbing vines, and fruit trees while the garden tends to him. Learn more about Timothy at http://timothyawalsh.com/.

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Post New Comment:
Katrina:
Thank you, Jayne! I love learning new musical terms. I can spend whole mornings immersed in them. Timothy Walsh brings them down to Earth. My canaries bop to fifties music. Perhaps I shall have to invest in some antique bars for them to frequent.
Posted 04/01/2011 04:38 AM
LindaCrosfield:
I've noted the tail like a baton thing with my cat, too. Really enjoyed this one.
Posted 03/31/2011 03:45 PM
transitions:
What a wonderfully clever poem! It's as "nimble as multiple mice running mazes". An inspiration ~ thank you. Judy
Posted 03/31/2011 02:05 PM
bookcat:
Delightful poem. I can SEE the spiders and the cat moving to the toccatas.
Posted 03/31/2011 12:07 PM


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