Featuring cherita!

March 1, 2013

Poetry Friday--"Observations of Manuel's Cat"

It's time for another ekphrastic poem, this one was inspired by a painting by Goya, "Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga." It was also a result of a poem I posted on my library blog, Kurious Kitty, a few weeks ago. The poem, by David Graham, is "The Dogs in Dutch Paintings." Since that post I'd become conscious of the preponderance of dogs in Dutch and other paintings. I thought a cat might feel slighted.

Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Observations of Manuel's Cat

On our palacio walls you'll see canvases depicting
Our Lord--his birth, his miracles, his last meal.
Glorious scenes of contest, crusade, or victory.
The Conde's exalted ancestors, and all his familia.

In these framed monstrosities you'll also see dogs.
Canines! But rarely a feline, and do you know why?

Because cats have better things to do than to sit
around looking droll and mildly interested in directions
issued by a fool waving a brush, while dogs, need only
the promise of that stick, tossed, to keep them contented.

Buenos días, Mr. Goya! Is that a cage? Are...those...birds?
Me? Sit for you? Oh, Mr. Goya! Como una gran artista...

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
If you click on the image it should open in a larger format. You'll better be able to see the rapt attention on the eyes of three cats, especially the calico. The black cat is barely visible.

This week's Round-Up is being held at The Drift Record. I hope we see a few cats there!


  1. Another of your ekphrastic wonders, Diane! Thanks for sharing. (And my office kitty likes this one much better than any canine version....)

  2. Nice job, Diane! Sorry, no cats at The Drift Record this week, though there's a miracle, and there are animals galore (and it's an ekphrastic poem, too - though not an original of mine!)

  3. As a 'cat person'...I totally get this. Thanks, Diane!

  4. I admit it--I had to google up ekphrastic. Thanks for helping with my poetry education, Diane, and for making me smile with your delightful insight into cats.

  5. Fabulous ekphrastic, Diane! I love the line:
    "Because cats have better things to do than to sit
    around looking droll and mildly interested in directions" - so true! Thanks for the chuckle this morning. =)

  6. "Oh, Mr. Goya!" You are a wonder, Diane. The words you put into a cat's mouth . . .

  7. Ekphrastic poetry is so useful for drawing our attention to overlooked bits, for putting words in silent mouths! I love that you draw our attention to the expression on the cats' faces. Those eyes! Maybe next you could write what the bird is thinking...

  8. The calico's eyes are so intense. What a wonderful ekphrasic poem.

  9. Tabatha, I think the bird is thinking, "Tell my wife goodbye..."

    I'm happy to have introduced you to ekphrastic poetry, Buffy! It is a wonderful entry into both the art and into writing. By looking at a work of art, there's no need to look further for "something to write about."

    I'm stuck on ekphrasis and I'll be sharing more in the future!

  10. How fun! I will notice all the dogs now, too!

  11. Believe me, once you're aware, you WILL see them!

  12. I'm stuck on ekphrasis too! And I adore this poem. Meow!

  13. Do you have any posted, Cathy? Leave a link!

  14. I am snorting my ice water. I love that haughty voice!

  15. Cats are nothing if not haughty!