Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: Nine Lives (More or Less)
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Part I – Adopting
One day a friend calls on the phone.
“I have an orphan with no home!
“A black tomcat, his name is Max.
He’s roaming loose – these are the facts.
“You have a barn with cats galore.
Could you please take him - just one more?”
“Okay,” I say, “Without a doubt -
“When you are ready, bring him out.”
Next day Max comes; I smell a rat!
Alas, I have a city cat!
He’s never walked a country mile -
But now must meld with our lifestyle.
I see myself as noble and right.
He’ll love it here; he’ll see the light!
A country boy, that’s what he’ll be.
I’m glad this cat will now be free!
But as my thoughts start to emerge,
Emotion out of Max does surge.
He winds his way around my legs;
With marble-eyes he pleads and begs.
I know my place, right here with you.
I’m sweet and gentle, loving, too.
His purrs lull me just like a song –
Threatening to last the whole day long.
I sigh and melt under his stare –
Give him some cheese as welcome fare.
“Now after this, no more, young man.
You must catch mice - um - if you can.”
However, Max is quite street wise.
He knows he’s caught me with his eyes.
Part II – Bonding
Well … quickly Max becomes a pet.
He loves his people, oh you bet!
He turns his back on barn cat ways
To study us and fix his gaze.
The big back porch becomes his spot,
And “greeter” his official lot.
He meets and greets; we come and go.
We pet and hold; his manners show.
He seems to love his place out there;
Drinks up the action with his stare.
Those eyes of gold, the truth reflect –
Max must be bright, we all suspect!
Max is a gentleman, for sure,
Polite and clean - with motives pure.
I trust his heart, despite his claws;
Max rules us with unspoken laws.
You should sit still, enjoy the breeze,
And let me sleep atop your knees.
Part III – Adventuring
Another nature shows up soon;
Our Max changes beneath the moon!
With people all asleep in bed,
Adventures call him to the shed.
Past there he prowls where’er he wants;
Finds danger, thrill, in secret haunts!
At night the barn’s a bachelor pad;
Black kittens prove he’s a new dad.
Mornings disclose fresh battle wounds,
The signs of Max-cat-battle-feuds.
We guess he fights with other toms,
Who battle for the barn-cat-moms.
“REEE-OWWW - spit spat (claws slash) - YEEE-OOOLLL!
I’m rough and tough and in control!
Part IV - Healing
One time at breakfast, early morn –
An ear is hanging, limp and torn.
Max looks askance – in pain, I guess -
All matted, bloody - quite a mess!
A far cry from his gentle mew,
His mournful yowls make me hurt, too.
I cannot help it – hear me yelp?
I prowled too hard, and now need help.
I call the vet: “What should I do?”
He answers, “Try the super glue!!”
“You’re kidding – glue on Max’s ear?”
“Yeah sure, I mean it – from the rear.
“Just hold the tip open just right,
Then squeeze the glue and shut it tight.”
I think I’ll faint - or gag - or bawl -
But buckle down for the long haul.
I clean up Maxx, wipe his big eyes,
Wash sticky fur, then watch him rise.
Mag-nif-i-cent - and all intact -
He seems all right – quite well, in fact.
I guess a little love from me
Is what he wants after a spree.
Part V – Tribute
Max has been gone for many years –
I think of him through fuzzy tears.
When wasting time or on a whim,
I used to spend much time with him.
He was a special cat with sass;
His heart of gold meant he had class.
He knew the truth of peace and strife;
Adjusted both to fit his life.
He fit himself into each mold -
Both gentleman and warrior bold.
So life, to Max, must have seemed right –
He lived to love; he loved to fight.
Now what is Max’s legacy?
Be true, be real…don’t fear, just BE.
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