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Sensibility Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 1

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Once, when a boy, I killed a cat.

I guess it's just because of that

A cat evokes my tenderness,

And takes so kindly my caress.

For with a rich, resonant purr

It sleeks an arch or ardent fur

So vibrantly against my shin;

And as I tickle tilted chin

And rub the roots of velvet ears

Its tail in undulation rears.

Then tremoring with all its might,

In blissful sensuous delight,

It looks aloft with lambent eyes,

Mystic, Egyptianly wise,

And O so eloquently tries

In every fibre to express

Consummate trust and friendliness.


I think the longer that we live

The more do we grow sensitive

Of hurt and harm to man and beast,

And learn to suffer at the least

Surmise of other's suffering;

Till pity, lie an eager spring

Wells up, and we are over-fain

To vibrate to the chords of pain.

For look you - after three-score yeas

I see with anguish nigh to tears

That starveling cat so sudden still

I set my terrier to to kill.

Great, golden memories pale away,

But that unto my dying day

Will haunt and haunt me horribly.

Why, even my poor dog felt shame

And shrank away as if to blame

of that poor mangled mother-cat

Would ever lie at his doormat.


What's done is done. No power can bring

To living joy a slaughtered thing.

Aye, if of life I gave my own

I could not for my guilt atone.

And though in stress of sea and land

Sweet breath has ended at my hand,

That boyhood killing in my eyes

A thousand must epitomize.

Yet to my twilight steals a thought:

Somehow forgiveness may be bought;

Somewhere I'll live my life again

So finely sensitized to pain,

With heart so rhymed to truth and right

That Truth will be a blaze of light;

All all the evil I have wrought

Will haggardly to home be brought. . . .

Then will I know my hell indeed,

And bleed where I made others bleed,

Till purged by penitence of sin

To Peace (or Heaven) I may win.

Well, anyway, you know the why

We are so pally, cats and I;

So if you have the gift of shame,

O Fellow-sinner, be the same.


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