Monday, June 21, 2010

T.S. Eliot "The Naming of Cats"

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible every day names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can be keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there's still one more name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.


  1. That is a pawsome poem! I like it very much. He understood cats furry well.

  2. Always loved this one. We've got lots of names; more than 3!

  3. T.S. Eliot did not mention that we cats also have a name for our human that no one ever knows except the cat herself.

  4. And that is why my name is Stella, Huffle Mawson, Explorer Cat. It's a mouthful.

  5. We like that poem. Mum has T.S. Eliot's 'Old Possum's book of Practical Cats' and she often reads poems from it.

  6. MOL!

    Our Names aren't the only thing we won't talk who decimated the roll of paper towels last night...

  7. Humans ignore these rules at their peril! :-)

  8. Ah, on of my favorite poems. So, so true...