The first time
His neck was wrung
He’d woken the baby
With the song that he’d sung;
It didn’t matter
That he hadn’t meant to.
The second time he got in a tussle
With cats who had a bit too much muscle
Only they were really dogs;
It hadn’t mattered
That he didn’t know,
Meow meow, ow oh.
Then he’d revived,
Third time a charm which was swell
Until he was thrown into a dark well;
Drowned by a group of uncouth little boys
Who had not been taught
Living cats aren’t stuffed toys.
Life number four began with a roar,
A leap, a mane, he roamed, lived gloriously large
Too large for it drew the attention of men
Came at him with guns in a horde numbering ten
To play cat and mouse
Shot him in his house.
Fifth time saw his shadow slinking arched back sleek
Lord of the ladies in alleyways bleak
Then the S.P.C.A came, took him to the shelter:
Indignant cat! He was spayed! Claws pulled out, how he hissed and spat!
Within a week his savior
Put him down for misbehavior.
Six was quick, he starved being sick
From the cheap crappy slime
Bought in bags for less than a dime;
When he rejected the stuff
His master had shrugged
Walked away saying, “Tough”.
Seven was heaven, he’d imagined at first,
In his fancy new mansion,
He’d not suffered from thirst,
Where his dame draped in diamonds with rosy red lips
From crystalline goblets fed him slow milky sips
Until she dropped him on a whim for a poodle.
He was happy to have another chance to purr
In a houseful of children who always stayed near
Rubbed his head, shared their bed, scratched him under his chin
Then he crossed the street
Got squished from out of his skin.
Having been through the line eight times out of nine
He thought he’d be clever, do nothing at all
This do nothing act set his back to the wall
Where he sat on a mat growing indolent, fat, till Goody came shouting,
“You lazy lout of a cat! When’s the last time you brought down a rat?!”
That was that.
When the cat’s out the bag, nine lives on his chart
Nine ways to adventure before he’s to part
It is this that I wonder gazing up at the stars
At Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars:
Would he do things different if he had only one
One turn on the wheel, counting ten back to none?