in hand

Listen, they said, in the way of their kind,
not caring if I did.

The small rumble, the soft staccato of pearls
tumbling into air from bodies too new to know,
blind and modest as a palm, or a memory.
Tiny ears tucked like page markers
in a long book whose stories you love.

From birth, that sound.

Before them, others, the dearest
silent to my ears for a dozen years. The
fault in my listening, tested one night
beneath the covers, between my breaths,
through the stethoscope over her drowsy chest:
the purr, rhythmic and resonant, rolling and rolling.


The warm bed, the patch of sun, the heating pad.
The kibble or the canned or the treat.
The friendly scratch; the available lap.
The lazy roll in the dappled dust.
The nameless, alert joy of the senses.
The familiar voice.

 I fetched her from the vet one long-ago morning, her
silken, shaved belly stitched from spaying.
She heard me before she saw me,
greeted me with happiness
already pouring from her soft throat,
filling her body like a chalice.

We are the same age equivalence now;
the charts say so.  Well south of vitality,
slightly north of dotage.

And still that sound, the rumbling repletion
they knew how to express from
the day they slipped into this world
of blood and softness.
Spontaneous praise for a thousand small joys.

When I die, I will not regret
not being famous or wealthy,
nor not having children, nor
not finding lasting love.
But let me learn to give thanks
with the whole of my body.

Listen, they say, in the way of their kind,
not caring if I do.

Teach me, I say, before it’s done:
Teach me to purr.






  1. love this poem. I love to hear my black cat purr.


    1. Thank you. My siblings are both of the dark persuasion. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Purring cats are lovely 💖


    1. They are, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful. Thank you. I do so wish I could purr.


    1. You’re welcome. And you’re not dead yet, so there’s still time to learn. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes and I do practice

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely and very touching poem! The pure joy of being alive, and the gratitude they express, as you so beautifully described “Spontaneous praise for a thousand small joys”. Our furry companions are, as Robert said, some of our greatest teachers!


    1. And they do it all by example, rather than that tedious Socratic method. 🙂 Thanks, Amira.


  5. So much to learn from our furry companions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And they are such patient teachers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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