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The Cat and the Two Sparrows


ISSUE:  Summer 2016

—La Fontaine, XII, 2

            It was amusing to see
     The quick pet Sparrow and the Cat
     Engage in harmless duels that
  Exercised their friendly rivalry.

    Their sport continued for years.
                  Cat understood
     The bird was not his proper food;
            The Sparrow had no fears.

            These nimble sparring partners
            Inhabited a château
     And entertained the Maids and Gardeners
            With many a mock set-to.

            Their range of acquaintance was narrow;
            Cat thought his feathered friend
            Was like every other Sparrow
                  The world around.

            But one unfortunate day
            A window was left ajar
     And a stranger Sparrow entered from far
                     Away.

            This unknown interloper
            Was very rude indeed
     He had no notion of what was proper
            And what was not allowed.

     He fluttered chattering about the house,
           Through pantries, bedrooms, hallways,
     Making in each dreadful mess
            And insulting Cat all ways.
     Fuzzbutt, he called him, The Big-Eared Wonder,
     And Creepabout and Pillowdozer,
     Old Spooky Slinker, Nature’s Blunder,
                 And Stripey Trouser.

     Down he swooped upon the Cat
            And flittered at his nose,
     Ever careful to estimate
            The farthest reach of his paws.

     One time only he miscalculated 
     His necessary certain distance
     And met the end for which he was fated
            As an instructive instance.

  Cat swallowed him down with a surly growl;
                 In a curious mood,
     He speculated how a creature so vile
                 Could taste so good.

            He began at length to ponder
            The Wherefores and the Whys
And gazed upon his playmate Sparrow with wonder
                 And strange surmise.

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