Carl Sandburg and cats

date-night-web

The phenomenon of catering to pets is not a new occurrence adopted by twenty-first century pet owners. Ever since the relationship between humans and animals began there has always been a desire to pamper their domesticated friends. And though there are many varieties from which to choose… starting with four-legged to two-legged with wings… to those with fins and others with scales.. it appears that the cat has gained its place within the high rankings of favoritism.

Let us go back a mere 10,000 years ago, to the Fertile Crescent where the first wild cats are known to have roamed. But like most humans that came in from their Nomadic lifestyle, a yearning to have a pet must have been prevalent. In ancient Egypt cats were worshiped, mummified, and kept on leashes. (Hmmm, now that may be taking things a bit far for your liking.) Well, it appears that back in the Roman Days, say around 31 BC, cats also came in from the cold and were introduced to Roman life.

Cats were said to have traveled on the Mayflower, gaining access to America from Europe, leading up centuries later, to 1885, where they showed off their fur at the first cat show in Madison Square Garden. By World War I they had taken control of many a household, domesticating their owners… as they so like to do.

Therefore, it should not surprise you that the affection for the feline has not changed, although their culinary tastes may have been altered. One has only to stroll a cart down the grocery store aisle or pet-supermarket (as they are now called) to see that our cats consume meals that would get many human salivary glands going. A cat’s dinner sounds like the menu from a gourmet restaurant:  Tasty Pairings shredded meat topped with diced veggies, Natural Balance tuna and pumpkin in broth, salmon, tuna and crab in gravy, and chicken in creamy crab sauce.

So, the next time you look in the refrigerator and say there is nothing to eat, you are probably searching in the wrong place; check the kitchen pantry for the cat food, there you’ll find a feast-a-waiting!  (But you may have to arm-wrestle the cat for it!)

carl-sandburgToday’s post brings to you the esteemed thinker: Carl August Sandburg (1878 – 1967) American poet, historian, novelist, and folklorist. Born in Galesburg, Illinois of Swedish parents, he was a poor boy. Having left school at thirteen to help support the family, he worked washing dishes and laying bricks.  At seventeen he served in the army during the Spanish American War. When he returned he worked his way through a small college, Lombard, where he became recognized for his writing talents. There he met and married Lillian Steichen (whom he called Paula), sister of the photographer Edward Steichen. It was their move to Chicago that propelled his career becoming recognized as a member of the Chicago literary renaissance, which included Ben Hecht, Theodore Dreiser, and Sherwood Anderson. During his writing career, Sandburg won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln: The War Years and one for his collection The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg.

I now bring to you a most famous poem titled Fog, originally published in 1916 in his collection of poetry.  Although is a very short poem by most standards, it has been analyzed in a multitude of studies, however if you were to ask out feline friends they would most likely say, “it is a poem that subtly brings the cat ever more close to the heart.”

“The fog comes

on little cat feet.

 

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.”

 

First image: Thought Bubbles- Nanette L. Avery

Second image: Carl Sandburg, World-Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna. 1955.

 

Esteemed thinker: Rupert Brooke

sea

Water is life. Without it we would perish. Our planet, the Earth, is exceptional for seventy- percent is covered by water, yet much of it is not potable being as the oceans and seas are too saline for humans to consume, but perfect for the countless animals and plants that coexist in its realm; from microscopic plankton to the giant blue whale; they can thrive within its boundaries. Though not all is salty; fresh water exists in all states of matter from foggy vapors to sheets of ice to running streams…

We turn on spigots when we are thirsty, purchase bottles of it to carry about, catch it when it is scarce, and pay homage to it for its return through prayers. We even go out of our way to vacation near it, live by it, or build pools to swim in it. We use it to clean, to soak, to wash, to nourish our plants. But with seemingly an abundant supply of this miracle substance, there are many who are not as lucky and its scarcity has sent generations of people in search or even war over it; while others have to build and secure methods in order for water to reach their lands and homes. Our love affair with water however is fickle and though we are ecstatic with its arrival during droughts, there are times when we curse its presence…like during floods.

Yet, no one can resist the beauty of water; it takes a multitude of forms and allows our senses to go through as many sensations and emotions as there are ways. The oceans’ shores are mesmerizing with their soothing churn of the tide… where eyes gaze out onto a distant horizon line and then our curiosity leaps over and steps beyond. The thunder of the river foams as though boiling in anger, crashing and cascading over rocks pounding and pummeling all in its path. The misty rain can be as gentle as an atomizer or as harsh as a hailstorm of pebbles. It can put one to sleep or wake us out of a sound dream.

And so, water holds great power over humanity, although most do not think much about it taking its existence for granted that it will always there, available, and clean…yet like all things in nature, the Earth is in a constant flux; changing ever so slightly as with erosion or with one grand natural disaster, as in an earthquake. Nevertheless, what does not change is the simple fact about water… we are beholden to it…

rupert brooke Today’s blog introduces a man who is not known today by many readers yet in his lifetime he held the title of being a literary national hero even though he died at the young the age of twenty- seven. I present to you the esteemed thinker: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915 ). English born poet, scholar, dramatist, literary critic, travel writer, political activist and soldier, his work exemplified patriotism and lyrical genius. Also known for his good looks and sentimental poetry, he made influential friends in both literary and political circles; an illustrious line-up of names such as Winston Churchill, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and Yeats, who once described him as “the handsomest man in England”. Brooke lived during a grey period in England’s history, the start of World War I after which he earned notoriety as ‘one of the famous War Poets of the First World War’.

His quite famous work “The Soldier” is one that will most likely ring a bell to those who read poetry…Here are just a few lines to rouse your memory …
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;…

I now bring you the words of Rupert Brooke, extracted from a letter he sent to the Westminster Gazette in 1913 about his trip to Niagara Falls.

“…. He who sees them instantly forgets humanity. They are not very high, but they are overpowering. They are divided by an island into two parts, the Canadian and the American.

Half a mile or so above the Falls, on either side, the water of the great stream begins to run more swiftly and in confusion. It descends with ever-growing speed. It begins chattering and leaping, breaking into a thousand ripples, throwing up joyful fingers of spray. Sometimes it is divided by islands and rocks, sometimes the eye can see nothing but a waste of laughing, springing, foamy waves, turning, crossing, even seeming to stand for an instant erect, but always borne impetuously forward like a crowd of triumphant feasters. Sit close down by it, and you see a fragment of the torrent against the sky, mottled, steely, and foaming, leaping onward in far-flung criss-cross strands of water. Perpetually the eye is on the point of descrying a pattern in this weaving, and perpetually it is cheated by change. In one place part of the flood plunges over a ledge a few feet high and a quarter of a mile or so long, in a uniform and stable curve. It gives an impression of almost military concerted movement, grown suddenly out of confusion. But it is swiftly lost again in the multitudinous tossing merriment. Here and there a rock close to the surface is marked by a white wave that faces backwards and seems to be rushing madly up-stream, but is really stationary in the headlong charge. But for these signs of reluctance, the waters seem to fling themselves on with some foreknowledge of their fate, in an ever wilder frenzy…

But there they change. As they turn to the sheer descent, the white and blue and slate color, in the heart of the Canadian Falls at least, blend and deepen to a rich, wonderful, luminous green. On the edge of disaster the river seems to gather herself, to pause, to lift a head noble in ruin, and then, with a slow grandeur, to plunge into the eternal thunder and white chaos below… “