Friday, April 25, 2008

In lieu of Friday cat blogging: more "Prayers from the Ark"

More from the book Prayers from the Ark, published in the same volume as the other collection of animal prayers by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold, The Creatures’ Choir. The prayer-poems were translated from the original French by Rumer Godden.

We’ve already had The Prayer of the Little Ducks and Noah’s Prayer.

And now...

The Prayer of the Dog

I keep watch!
If I am not here
who will guard their house?
Watch over their sheep?
Be faithful?
No one but You and I
what faithfulness is.
They call me, "Good dog! Nice dog!"
I take their pats
and the old bones they throw me
and I seem pleased.
They really believe they make be happy.
I take kicks too
when they come my way.
None of that matters.
I keep watch!
do not let me die
until, for them,
all danger is driven away.

The Prayer of the Cat

I am the cat.
It is not, exactly, that I have something to ask of You!
No –
I ask nothing of anyone–
if You have by some chance, in some celestial barn,
a little white mouse,
or a saucer of milk,
I know someone who would relish them.
Wouldn’t You like someday
to put a curse on the whole race of dogs?
If so I should say,

The Prayer of the Mouse

I am so little and grey,
dear God,
how can You keep me in mind?
Always spied upon,
always chased.
Nobody ever gives me anything,
and I nibble meagrely at life.
Why do they reproach me with being a mouse?
Who made me but You?
I only ask to stay hidden.
Give me my hunger’s pittance
safe from the claws
of that devil with green eyes.