POEM: BRIEF REFLECTION ON CATS GROWING ON TREES

by contemplativeinquiry

When moles still had their annual general meetings

and when they still had better eyesight it befell

that they expressed a wish to discover what

was above.

So they elected a commission to  ascertain what was above. The commission despatched a sharp-sighted fleet-footed

mole. He, having left his native mother earth,

caught sight of a tree with a bird on it.

Thus a story was put forward that up above

birds grew on trees. However,

some moles thought that this was

too simple. So they dispatched another

mole to ascertain if birds did grow on trees.

By then it was evening and on the tree

some cats were mewing. Mewing cats,

the second mole announced, grew on the tree.

Thus an alternative theory emerged about cats.

The two conflicting theories bothered an elderly

neurotic member of the commission. And he

climbed up to see for himself.

By then it was night and all was pitch-black.

Both schools are mistaken, the venerable mole declared.

birds and cats are optical illusions produced

by the refraction of light. In fact, things above

Were the same as below, only the clay was less dense and

the upper roots of the trees were whispering something,

but only a little.

And that was that.

Ever since then moles have remained below ground:

they do not set up commissions

or presuppose the existence of cats.

Or if so only a little.

In On the Contrary and Other Poems by Miroslav Holub (Newcastle-on-Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1984 – translated from Czech by Ewald Osers)

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