• Marian Glaser

The Ballad of Kerblam's and Eric the Red's Party


by Marian Glaser ©, September 2007

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Rocky Mountains stretched all four paws,

yawned, turned around and licked

her foot, ignored cheeky bird caws,

but changed her mind and flicked

her tail, curled in the sun on the lawn.

Rocky thought of last night.

She had played and watched until dawn.

Sleep would come with more light.

Kerblam’s and Eric’s big party

refused to be over.

The last guest had gone with a dart. He

looked like a dashing rover.

Earlier she had seen that mild,

quiet, peaceful tabby

leading a pack, all catnip wild,

catching moths, acting sappy,

aping the kittens who had been

batting a large white ball

until it burst and they had seen

a cloud of moths, whale tall.

Rocky smiled recalling Kerblam’s joy

at seeing her trick work,

the paper thin, ripped open toy,

claws finding the moth cork,

kittens gazing or jumping high,

falling in their haste to

capture, taste, not stopping for “Why?”

Worth it, but hard to do.

Kerblam had told Rocky to get

them to play with the ball

and said when she wanted to bet

it would rip, “Hope so. Call!”

She’d given Kerblam a nose rub

to show she got the gist

and climbed the tall elm at the hub

so nothing would be missed.

Now she could see everyone.

A hundred pairs of cats’ eyes

gleamed, kittens were still having fun,

the breeze smelled of fish pies.

Far below, she spotted Kerblam’s

deep-dark, long, glossy fur,

like moving, warm apricot jams,

towering over her guests, her

path heading straight for Eric, where

he stood lighting the night,

part of a crowd, without a care,

watching two black cats fight.

Rocky saw Kerblam pause, assess,

go to Eric, look into

his large eyes: almost a caress,

continue with him, do

the improbable. Two tails ceased

lashing, flattened ears rose,

claws retracted, tempers decreased,

saw fangs vanished, mouths closed.

From her high vantage point Rocky

watched cats flow smoothly, led

by her two big good friends, cocky

that none had yowled or bled.

They paused to hear four Siamese

meowing in harmony,

their voices rising to please

their audience and the stars in their canopy.

The cats flowed on, following

their leaders, reaching their

goal, making sounds like cheering

when they saw a fall fair.

At least that’s how it looked to her.

The cats began to run,

music blared, rides began to whirr.

All rushed to join the fun.

Tents had been pitched under the full moon,

each gleaming white and black.

The Siamese stopped their sad song

and ran to the dirt track

for racing encircling the tents.

Rocky climbed down. She’d seen

Cats jumping, following their bents

for high or long, all keen.

Rocky ran for the high jump pit.

Cats soared over the bar.

Rocky arrived fast, feeling fit.

She jumped high. Felt no jar.

Other cats had failed. The bar rose.

Done, she watched. Five were left.

They jumped. Three left, she one of those.

The ones out looked bereft.

The bar rose. She jumped, scraping by

barely, not surprised to hear

others jump, gasps, groans, the bar fly

to the ground, then a cheer.

She’d won! Eric gave her a cup

of cream. She drank her fill.

The tents were enticing close up,

calling, wooing her will.

She walked further, admiring

wrought-iron like curls, black

on white, each tent unique, smelling

food. There would be no lack.

Hot pies, cold fish, chicken liver,

open tins, dry snacks, cream,

some unknown smells made her shiver,

hoping this wasn’t a dream.

Remembering eating, riding,

was too moving to bring

the calm, peace, needed for napping.

What would be the right thing?

She’d think about cats’ names like Plug,

a two-year old child’s choice.

It could have been jug, mug or bug.

Child’s play. Cats had no voice.

Or Kerblam, a four-year old’s pick

after seeing fireworks.

Pure chance. She hadn’t cared a lick,

might have been naming storks.

And her name? Rocky Mountains made

her humans think of sex.

Would honeymoon memories fade

with a name less complex?

Eric and Kerblam were red coons,

she a short-haired blue cat,

and all three colour blind as spoons.

There was no sense to that.

Cats and humans lived side by side,

neither understanding.

Accepting, she could let it slide.

sinking into sleeping.

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