I don't think I ever posted this poem here. james_nicoll is a wonderful person who was a very significant poster on the rec.arts.sf.* groups, he also reads for the SFBC, and his LJ is very cool. He also rescues feral cats, with remarkable success, and himself has had a surprisingly large number of hairsbreath escapes. One day I realised that perhaps these two facts were not unconnected:
Few of them had all nine: they'd had to roam Alone through many perils, icy nights, Hypnotic headlight beams, a thousand fights, Starvation, when the hunt was thin, no home. Rescued, inside, and dry, and checked by vets, The lucky ones had eight, some still had five, And some were on their last, barely alive, When they were offered safe warm lives as pets. Cats do know gratitude they won't admit They'll curl up close and give a special purr Then look embarrassed, stop and clean their fur, Here, life for life, it's spare, don't mention it. Nine lives, or eight, or seven, cats make these claims, And who'd deny the many lives of James?
Jo Walton 2002.
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