Listening to Handel with a cat
Sometimes - and I think the cat thinks this -
after ordinary, quotidian things
lying stretched on the red tile floor
in the summer heat or reading in a chair
where there is nothing distracting or deep
for Handel seems conservative, even to a cat
music makes its own way, as water does, and swells
with sufficient volume between confining banks
which stalwartly resist - to the exact pitch
of water flow - until, and here the cat
stirs and his whiskers twitch - grandness comes
as if every drop resolves to go, magisterially
and slow and everything is resolve, resolve
and not a drop is wasted, not a vapour
above the darkening river, in the mist
but everything accrues to grand and majestic.
‘Listening to Handel with a cat' from Red Shoes, Te Mata Estate poet laureate 03 (Godwit, 2003), © Elizabeth Smither 2003, used by permission of the author.
Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.