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Cat's Dream Analysis

Author: poem of Pablo Neruda Type: poem Views: 2

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How neatly a cat sleeps,

sleeps with its paws and its posture,

sleeps with its wicked claws,

and with its unfeeling blood,

sleeps with all the rings--

a series of burnt circles--

which have formed the odd geology

of its sand-colored tail.

I should like to sleep like a cat,

with all the fur of time,

with a tongue rough as flint,

with the dry sex of fire;

and after speaking to no one,

stretch myself over the world,

over roofs and landscapes,

with a passionate desire

to hunt the rats in my dreams.

I have seen how the cat asleep

would undulate, how the night

flowed through it like dark water;

and at times, it was going to fall

or possibly plunge into

the bare deserted snowdrifts.

Sometimes it grew so much in sleep

like a tiger's great-grandfather,

and would leap in the darkness over

rooftops, clouds and volcanoes.

Sleep, sleep cat of the night,

with episcopal ceremony

and your stone-carved moustache.

Take care of all our dreams;

control the obscurity

of our slumbering prowess

with your relentless heart

and the great ruff of your tail.

Translated by Alastair Reid

Submitted by Jen


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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‘How neatly a cat sleeps,’
This is the first line of the poem, is a statement that reflects the way a cat sleeps. It introduces the word ‘neatly’ which shows the cat is sleeping considerately. The definition of neatly is ‘habitually orderly and clean in appearance or habits,’ this shows that the cat sleeps in a content way, perfectly. The way you sleep often reflects your mood, if you are scared or worried you will sleep restlessly but if you are happy and pleased you will sleep neatly. From the word neatly I believe that the cat is happy and relaxed so the beginning line starts to introduce a positive mood to the poem. The word neatly is a definition of the way human’s do certain things, so by using this word the writer has used personification. Overall, the first line introduces the action of sleep, which further on the poem talks about. So, the first line is a brief summary of the poem.
The structure of the poem is laid out in four stanzas’, this is relevant as a cat has four legs. The poem consists of a different number of lines in each verse. Stanza one contains 8 lines, stanza 2 contains 9 lines, stanza 3 has 10 lines and stanza four goes back down to 8 lines. It is convenient that the beginning verse and end verse have the same amount of lines in them as, they echo each other in the idea of ceremony. Verse one introduces a concept of a deathly ceremony, by the use of the words ‘wicked,’ ‘claws,’ ‘unfeeling blood’ and ‘burnt circles.’ The end verse creates a feel of a evil ceremony when it creates an image of a funeral, this is shown use by the use of words such as, ‘stone-carved moustache,’ and ‘episcopal ceremony.’ Both of which are linked to a funeral!
There is no refrain in the poem, each verse has a completely different feel to one and other but they are all still linked to the a recurring theme. Repetion is used in the first verse with the word ‘sleeps.’ He uses the word sleeps every time he presents a fresh idea or image. The use of this repetition is effective in the poem because it re-enforces an idea and adds more power.

| Posted on 2011-07-10 | by a guest

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