How difficult it is to move
even from simple place to place,
how hard to pack the books, to shove
the cat into its carrying case;
how hard to sit in Airport-land
through one more endless flight delay
while Trebizond or Samarkand
sits half a universe away;
how hard to get the papers filed
that separate you from your past,
newly and legally enisled,
and yet, and yet my father’s last
great journey out of self to shade—
how easily and quickly made.
by Gail White, first published in Measure
Editor’s note: Sonnets often say the hardest things with the most ease.
“It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.” -Thoreau
The cats of England at the cottage door
look up expectant, when the milk man comes,
like furry Olivers who beg for more,
beneath a shelter of chrysanthemums.
The cats of Belgium in the baker’s shop
adorn a window — in the bar, a stool.
The cats of Greece, at every culture stop,
are waiting for a tourist to befool.
I judge the nations by the way they treat
these purry gentry just below their knees.
Where cats are loved, I know that strangers meet
a kindly welcome and a will to please.
Why spend so much and haul myself so far
if not to count the cats in Zanzibar?
by Gail White, first published in Sonnets in a Hostile World.
Editor’s note: This made me smile and sometimes that is all that is necessary.