Look, Cat

In a previous post, I shared that I decided to be more intentional about writing and reading poetry in 2020. Many poetic forms have intrigued me over the years, so investigating poetry more has led me to new forms. Writing poems in different forms has been a way to challenge myself.

Luc Bat is a Vietnamese poetic form that I learned about last year. Luc Bat means “six, eight” and refers to the fact that this form has alternating lines of six and eight syllables. The rhyme scheme is what really intrigued me though. The last word of the six syllable line rhymes with the sixth syllable in the eight syllable line. The last word of the eighth syllable line then becomes the new rhyme for the next six syllable line, so that is looks like this:

xxxxxA
xxxxxAxB
xxxxxB
xxxxxBxC

I’ve attempted several Luc Bat poems since discovering the form. One of my favorites is called, “Look, Cat.” The idea came one morning when I felt exasperated by one of my cats and realized “Look, Cat” also sounds like “Luc Bat.” The experience is now memorialized in the verse below, which will appear in my next book, Event Horizon.

Look, Cat

(for my cats, Lily and Nilli) 

Look, cat—I’ve pet you.  What
more do you want?  Eggs sputter in
this pan.  They’ll burn within
minutes if I don’t finish them
up.  No one can condemn
me for that.  But there’s blame in your
eyes, and you just cry more
plaintively than before.  Pleeease, shut
your meow-th or I’ll go nuts!
Okaaay, I’ll check your water and
food.  They’re full.  Yet you stand
and fuss.  Can you be banned from here?
Or from bending my ear?
Left on my plate, I fear my eggs
are cold.  I scarf the dregs
as you paw at my legs, pricking
my shins as you’re snagging
my pants.  There’s no winning with you
so I turn from my food
and look your way.  On cue, it seems,
you drop your gaze and preen,
licking ‘til there’s a sheen to your
coat.  With that, looking bored,   
you completely ignore me, then
saunter off like you’ve been
indulgent enough.  Then you shoot
me a look as if you
would say, “Well, what do you want, freak?”

Published by mrteague

Teague McKamey lives in Washington state with his wife and two children. Currently, he manages in-home caregiver services for elderly and disabled people. The McKameys belong to Thorp Community Church, where they worship and minister together. In all areas of his life--whether at home, at church, or on the job--Teague sincerely hopes that Christ may be magnified in his body (Php. 1:20).

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