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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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an cat dubh
The Cat and the Moon

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet.
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

- William Butler Yeats

Another Irish poem about a cat. Hey, at least it's about a black cat this time, to balance out the white one.

This is by no means my favorite Yeats poem, but I stumbled across it today and it stuck with me. It's another masterly work of observation and speculation, this time musing on the identity between the black cat hunting in the grass and the moon hanging enigmatic above- how changeable both are, how mysterious. The moon was an important symbol to Yeats- I think it represented the light of inner vision, and the way that moonlight enchants the world- making the known world strange and special- was to him the way poetry could do the same.

And those last four lines make the hair on the back of my neck rise, in a most agreeable way.