I’ve mentioned before that cats often pad into my poems. That being the case, I decided last year to compile my cat poems into a chapbook. (Anyone who doubts that a book of cat poems has artistic dignity should check out Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot 😺). Right now, the working title is Cat Show, and I plan to include artwork by my kids that features cats.

Cat-lovers universally adore how quirky and contradictory cats can be. A cat is a walking oxymoron. This inspired a poem of the same name, which I’ve shared below.

“Oxymoron” is a sonnet. This poem will appear in my chapbook about cats, which I’ll self-publish by next year (hopefully). It will also be in my third book of poems, Shadow and Memory, slated for self-publication in the next few months.


A cat is an oxymoron that always lands
on her feet but trips while going up the stairs, 
a cotton candy floof on prickly pear
toes, nosing you ‘til you pet her then biting your hand
when you do.  But at least with a cat you always know
where you stand: you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
So why do these erratic beasts inspire
so much affection?  Not for how dog tired
they make you when they walk across your head
at two AM.  Why then?  It’s hard to tell.
But when one crawls up on your lap to loll
and purr, it’s like some part of you, some mad
self rarely claimed, is made to feel at home
so it can nap and see what dreams may come.

Published by mrteague

Teague McKamey lives in Washington state with his wife and two children. Teague’s poetry has appeared in several journals and in self-published books. He blogs at thevoiceofone.org and awanderingminstrel.com. In all areas of life, Teague desires that Christ may be magnified in his body (Php. 1:20).

2 thoughts on “Oxymoron

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