Originally published on February 17, 2014, on Tumblr.
The Naming Of Cats
by T. S. Eliot
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains by Captain Beefheart
I’ll let a train be my feet
If it’s too far to walk to you
If a train don’t go there I’ll get a jet or a bus
Because I’m going to find you
You’re going to see me shadow soon around you
And my head is my only house unless it rains
I walk the meadow plains
Water deserts are my eyes until I find you
I won’t sleep until I find you
I won’t eat until I find you
My heart won’t beat until
I wrap my arms around you
My arms are just two things in the way
Until I can wrap them around you
You can make my sad song happy
Make a bad world good
I can feel you out there moving
You’re mine, I know I’ll find you
And my head is my only house until I’ve found you
I hate to have other people hear me sing this song
If this reaches you before I do
Follow it to “I love you”
That’s where I’ll find you
And my head is my only house until I find you
(Note from Feb. 7. 2016) I always thought this was a sweet love song. Tonight, over forty years from the first time I heard it, I am realizing it’s a really weird stalker song and the girl has clearly taken off for parts unknown. No forwarding address. Man …
UNLESS … he is singing to a girl he hasn’t met yet, one he can only dream about … I much prefer that interpretation!