Pure blood domestic, guaranteed,
Soft-mannered, musical in purr,
The ribbon had declared the breed,
Gentility was in the fur
Such feline culture in the gads
No anger ever arched her back–
What distance since those velvet pads
Departed from the leopard’s track!
And when I mused how Time had thinned
The jungle strains within the cells,
How human hands had disciplined
Those prowling optic parallels;
I saw the generations pass
Along the reflex of a spring,
A bird had rustled in the grass,
The tab had caught it on the wing:
Behind the leap so furtive-wild
Was such ignition in the gleam,
I thought an Abyssinian child
Had cried out in the whitethroat’s scream.
Edwin John Dove Pratt, born 1882 in Newfoundland, died 1964 in Toronto.