Say what you will about cats, a cat is never uncertain or confused about its business.

A cat knows what its business is and is always, I mean always, going about its business.

I watched a cat lying under the front bumper of a car parked at the curb in Stonington, Maine.

After some time had passed, it moved under the rear bumper of the car in front of the one it had been lying under.

Changed scenery.

The cat knew its business and was not to be deterred.

Cats are like that.

Maybe it’s napping, and maybe it’s stalking a bird or a grasshopper, or waiting on dinner to come from the can to the bowl.

Whatever it is, the cat knows what it is and stays centered in it, focused on it.

“Big deal,” you say. “What’s a cat’s business?

A cat’s business has no impact on the way the world turns!”

That kind of comment works on human beings.

You can shame us out of doing our business.

“Poetry? What does poetry have to do with anything?

Poetry doesn’t feed the hungry, serve the poor, or establish world peace!

Jesus didn’t write poems!

What do you mean writing poems when there is real work to be done—

particularly when they are no better than the ones you write?”

That would keep me from writing another poem,

but not a cat.

A cat wouldn’t give you the satisfaction of acknowledging the validity of your assertions.

A cat would steadfastly maintain its concentration on the business at hand.

A cat is centered and focused on what is important to the cat.

A cat is at peace with itself, at one with itself.

It has no pretentions, puts on no airs, assumes no postures.

A cat never tries to be a dog, or even another cat.

It lives in perfect harmony with itself, with perfect integrity of being.

But we have different ideas.

We get paid to be who we are not.

We get paid to do what we don’t like to do.

The most successful people we know are the people who haven’t done anything they wanted to do all their lives long.

The most successful people we know don’t have a clue about what their business is.

They have been disconnected for so long from the business that is truly theirs

that they think their business is what they do for a living,

what they get paid to do, what no one would do if they didn’t get paid to do it.

You couldn’t pay a cat to do anything that wasn’t its business.

No one tries to take a cat’s business away from the cat and give the cat some other business.

Everyone tries to do that with us.

Everyone tries to tell us what our business ought to be.

We have so many people telling us what our business should, or should not, be,

or paying us to do things that aren’t our business,

that we have no idea what our business is, and no idea of how to know.

A cat knows its business.

We don’t know ours, and, we don’t trust ourselves to know ours.

This gets us to the crux, as they say, of the matter.

This is our first order of business, sorting out what our business is.

What are we chasing? What are we after? What are we about with our lives?

Whatever it is, is it our idea or something someone else has handed to us?

We have to sit with the questions and see where they lead.

No one can tell you what your business is,

but if you don’t trust yourself to know what it is,

you are at the mercy of everyone with a guilt trip to give away,

or a sales pitch to make.

Who knows better than a cat what its business is?

Who knows better than you what your business is?

You better get busy knowing what you know.

How would it look, a cat knowing more than you do?

One thought on “A Poem About Cats

  1. Barb says:

    I love this! We have had cats for 30 years and they have all been different in their own cat like way. They also do not hold grudges and always maintain their dignity. You can shoo them off of your lap and they just look back at you with self composure and when you are ready to pet them and put them on your lap they come willingly, purring and holding no grudge.

    Like

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