Pet was never mourned as you, Purrer of the spotless hue, Plumy tail, and wistful gaze While you humoured our queer ways, Or outshrilled your morning call Up the stairs and through the hall-- Foot suspended in its fall-- While, expectant, you would stand Arched, to meet the stroking hand; Till your way you chose to wend Yonder, to your tragic end.
Never another pet for me! Let your place all vacant be; Better blankness day by day Than companion torn away. Better bid his memory fade, Better blot each mark he made, Selfishly escape distress By contrived forgetfulness, Than preserve his prints to make Every morn and eve an ache.
From the chair whereon he sat Sweep his fur, nor wince thereat; Rake his little pathways out Mid the bushes roundabout; Smooth away his talons' mark From the claw-worn pine-tree bark, Where he climbed as dusk embrowned, Waiting us who loitered round.
Strange it is this speechless thing, Subject to our mastering, Subject for his life and food To our gift, and time, and mood; Timid pensioner of us Powers, His existence ruled by ours, Should - by crossing at a breath Into safe and shielded death, By the merely taking hence Of his insignificance-- Loom as largened to the sense, Shape as part, above man's will, Of the Imperturbable.
As a prisoner, flight debarred, Exercising in a yard, Still retain I, troubled, shaken, Mean estate, by him forsaken; And this home, which scarcely took Impress from his little look, By his faring to the Dim Grows all eloquent of him.
Housemate, I can think you still Bounding to the window-sill, Over which I vaguely see Your small mound beneath the tree, Showing in the autumn shade That you moulder where you played.