Miss Sarah Short was fond of cats,
and told me times how smart they were –
although I still remained convinced
they scarce knew how to eat and purr.
But when I tired and turned to leave
then Minsky, Sarah’s pride and joy,
the Emperor of gardens far,
decided on his cunning ploy.
The cat went out the door, but turned
his head to me. I thought, oh well –
I’d better play the game he wants;
let’s see what tales a cat can tell.
So out I went, and closed the door.
With tail aloft, he led me on
along the path a little way;
I followed where his paws had gone.
Then left he went, with whiskers stiff,
between two hedges high and wide.
He looked at me again to check,
then sat upon the right hand side.
It wasn’t long before a dog
ran out. When he began to bay,
the cat sat still as stone at first,
and then he slowly walked away.
He sat before the other hedge
in just the way he’d sat before.
He lashed his tail, but when there came
another dog, he licked his paw
without a moment’s fear of fools
ten times his size, and barking loud.
He looked at me again, and then
I could have sworn the creature bowed.
With that, he turned towards the end
where both the hedges joined at last,
and ran beneath the centre, where
he disappeared from sight so fast
I cannot guess where Minsky went;
but there the dogs converged at once,
right where the leaves were green and deep
the cat made each appear a dunce.
He left them growling yowls and barks
at one another. Once he’d gone
they howled and panted loud and long
without the cat. They carried on,
looking the finest kind of fools.
But once my brain had turned its cogs
I saw that Minsky’s purpose was
to bring me here to watch the dogs.
And I was just the third to him –
another creature he could rule
by playing on our traits and ways,
his every move a subtle tool
with which to lead us all a dance,
our minds beset with fiendish fogs;
and from the first he sought to show
that I was just the third of dogs.