Friday, 17 June 2011

more of cats and balls

Working on the last post, I thought I needed a photo which would mirror that last line, for some reason the image of that ball was very appealing to me. So I took my camera and went to my mother's, who was ready to mock me: "You don't really believe the dark one will comply?"
And indeed, the dark one didn't.

I took out all my mother's balls of yarn, I tossed them about, rolled them, dangled them in front of her, called her in all tongues and voices, threatened, begged. Unmoved in her otherworldly sovereignty, without even a look of mercy (disdain would have been sweeter), she kept ignoring me, bathed in her luxurious black languor like a haughty queen whom a writer of a different age would have called Salammbô.

And now I am forced to wonder, yet again, why it is that cats hold this strange power over us, such a mythical mix of fascination and fear. And I remember a certain poet obsessed with the dangerous perfume floating about her body, praying, Come, my fine cat, against my loving heart. Sheathe your sharp claws, and settle. I remember Bastet and also a certain Bysshe, the black cat whose owner, a somewhat demonic figure himself, had recently written to me how possessed he was by this dark love. And I remember Kuroneko, a classic Japanese horror film of the sixties, which shows, in scenes of breathtaking beauty and eroticism despite their inherent violence, two women returning, as evil spirits in the shape of black cats, to avenge their cruel death at the hands of samurai. Or Tanizaki's novel A Cat, a Man and Two Women, in which a man is so in love with his cat, Lily, that he ends up choosing her over the two women in his life, his former and new wife, both sickly jealous of the cat, more than of each other.

(Why is it that men are typically subjects of such depictions? What makes them frailer and more easily prey to feline fascination? Or is this just another myth?)

And as I couldn't find the thread leading out of this ball of tangled thoughts and memories, I decided to make a post about it and dedicate it to all the cat-lovers among the Bridge-lovers, some of whom I already know.



  1. Because cats are the only domesticated animal that retains the right to hunt...and I am on a promise from a letter beyond the grave...and all I leave you with is my eternal love and a very indulged cat.

  2. I do like cats, even though a feral cat recently got into my coop and snatched two young chickens. Only a few little feathers were left behind....sob....

  3. Our two cats can attest that this is not a myth; I am entirely under their spell and do their bidding night and day, day and night. If I work, it is only so as to keep them supplied with a roof, beds to sleep on, and a constant supply of tasty tidbits to eat. All my spare time at home is monopolized by their needs for constant carressing and murmurring of sweet nothings in their ears. It is a wonder I do anything else... They allow me only ten minute breaks twice a day to go blog or whatever... and their claws are long and fearfully sharp should I even think of disobeying, they can read minds of course...

  4. but men prefer dogs...cats are so unfaithful. And those claws...

  5. is it japan, or it's egypt?
    because wondering through the halls of your dreams I catched a glimpse of an old parfume, wrapped inside the un-luminous body of the cat and the constrating roundness of the ball.
    but remember, the cat is merely a reminder of a path, the decay of memmories, the holy materialism of the eternal fire. blackened. and whitened.

  6. I have no comprehension of people's fear of cats, but most fears are irrational so perhaps that is explanation enough. It could have something to do with a cat's reluctance to do one's bidding or cooperate in any manner at all. Even the man of this house has finally fallen under our wee cat's spell, and speaks to her in Cat (which can be very annoying, I must say).
    My favourite of these delightful photos is the first one, with the bright bit of sun on the cat's tail. It's absolutely delightful and speaks volumes.

    Cats do have an aura of wildness and mystery about them, no matter how domesticated they are--much as a woman does who is in touch with her soul.

  7. I was reading recently that some time ago archeologists unearthed a tomb in Egypt that contained 80,000 mummified cats! So, I suppose that in the afterlife there will be lots of stray cats wandering around heaven, in search of heavenly rats. Purrr-fict!

  8. Ils sont les esprits de nos foyers, les chats...dieux, génies, muses, protecteurs, amoureux, fascinants, immortels.

  9. i couldn't help notice that, in your last comment, you neglected to say how much you had missed me here on the bridge. Surely this was an oversight on your part: you were busy with all that poetry stuff when suddenly your passion for photographing cats scuttled everything. Naturally, i forgive you.

    i must also confess to you that i am not, as are many of your readers, a cat person (my avatar may serve to reinforce the point). Nonetheless, i am openminded when it comes to such things as ailuromancy and scratching posts.

    By the way, my non-cat's name is Frederica (i know that you are endlessly occupied with the aforementioned recreational
    activities and that, in earnest, you couldn't possibly keep track of all of the names of your cherished reader's pets... but there you have it, another crumb for you that does not amount to a trail) (subtle lacunae often develop in his explanations (a plausible reason as to why she often struggles with them)).

    Her father, Rupert (an assumed name), spent most of his adult life in prison. Then there were the males in the litter: Chico, Brandy and Pip. How did they survive the salt marshes and deep estuaries of Southampton fatherless? Remarkably well, actually. Uncommunicative at times, but rather fine in the main. Chico had developed odd tubercules early on, but these seemed to dissipate by the time his adoption was arranged. The adoptive couple, besides having kitschy furniture carelessly strewn about their Berlin flat, were a decent pair. They hunted pulsating cepheid variable stars for a living, and Chico soon learned to love his astronomically-minded parents.

    Brandy and Pip joined the circus. They toured Europe in a Polish kibitka with lapis lazuli draperies, which would be tightly drawn in order to shelter its itinerant (and tightly bundled) residents from the cold, oft-heartless world. Yet there was joy. They learned tricks with their brethren, the elephants and bears, and this passed the time till the occasional sunburst gladdened their tiny puppy souls.

    One day, while performing for members of the monarchy in Liechtenstein, the two brothers, gamboling on stage and then
    characteristically forgetting their lines, cast their collective eyes into the tenebrous stands. There stood out, in the
    audience's dark heart, a pair of emerald eyes (les yeux chatoyants). They glinted like morning sunlight on bursting dew
    drops. Nous sommes embarqués. To be continued...

    All this to say that most dogs have an inner life equal to that of any cat.

  10. lovely post, beautiful queen.
    I love cats for holding the power and keeping their independence. one cannot tame them completely, they will always be hunters when they feel like and submissive when they need something. needless to say, I would love to be a cat-woman, to pertain just to myself, never completely tamed or obedient.

  11. Love the interplay, the dance, of light and dark in these images. And it is always a delight to contemplate cats, or any animal for that matter. I wish I had the company of many animals but my living situation does not make it practical at the moment. But my brother and his wife have 3, all with distinct personalities. And the black one is the most intense and self-contained. I wonder if the color of the cat influences its personality?

  12. beautiful Roxana, thanks for sharing these photos with us it is fun to view them they are wonderful and I enjoyed your play of words.
    Perhaps it is not difficult to understand why cats hold this mythical power over us. I guess if any animal had to represent a woman it would be a cat,they are sexy enough in their graceful supple movements. and the black ones camouflage so well with the darkness that it does render them mysterious and the eyes are mesmerizing ok seductive haha, I wouldn't have said this before you are forcing me to say things hahaha.but their fleeting unattainable light in the darkness is hypnotic.
    to continue....

  13. anyway I am really not into pets at all. I wish them well. I don't hate them haha. I can even admire them but I really do not wish to cage up all those impulses...If I was brought up on a farm well I probably would feel differently.
    anyway so I will just pass this on to TS ELLIOT-

    Jellicle cats come out tonight
    Jellicle cats come one come all
    The Jellice moon is shining bright
    Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball

    We are quiet enough in the morning hours
    We are quiet enough in the afternoon

    Reserving our terpschorean powers
    To dance to the light of the JEllicle Moon.

    sending you feline kisses

  14. Very nice series between dream cat
    Cat dreaming ....

  15. am immune to feline fascination,, but ah.... the shadows and the light patches in these pictures ...!

  16. Roxana - My grandmother promised to come back as my cat - and she did. So the mysteries of interaction between human and cat are unending.

  17. this cat is more like a sphinx! you (and I suspect your readers) have been stuck here for ages!

  18. eigentlich bin ich ja kein "Katzen-Mensch", obschon ich mich mit einigen unter ihnen ja wirklich angefreundet habe und es gab eine wirkliche Kommunikation, was mich sehr erstaunte... aber hier gibt es doch noch etwas anderes: dein Post scheint eher die Unabhängigheit, den Stolz und eine gewisse Kühle der Katze zu beschreiben. Das Getrenntsein sein auch, man weiss sich nicht mit diesem Wesen zu verbinden. Ich mag diese schattenhaften Bilder, die dem Ganzen etwas geheimnisvolles, traumartiges verleihen...
    Einen wunderbaren ruhigen traumhaften Tag Dir, liebste Prinzessin!

  19. Dawn follows Dawn and Nights grow old and
    all the while this curious cat
    Lies couching on the Chinese mat with eyes of
    satin rimmed with gold.

    Zzzz. Oh, for heaven's sake!

  20. si intr-adevar,draga mea surprinde,ca intotdeauna,atatea idei si meditatii asupra vietii in sine in imaginile ei,intrega fascinatie,izvorand,poate,din imprevizibil,a felinelor.marturisesc ca am fost mereu cucerita de suveranitatea aceea detasata a pisicilor,concomitent avand un sentiment atroce de nesiguranta si eu,personal,nu as putea niciodata sa imi incredintez confesiunea unei pisici.exista cineva in mine care are,in mod sigur,atributele acestei fiinte,insa linistea mea sta intotdeauna mai degraba la umbra blanii unui caine decat in torsul lenes al unei totusi,misterul,misterul acelei cozi negre in jurul careia se invarteste ghemul...

  21. merc, yes.

    Dan, i remember that :-(

    Owen, you were for sure on my mind when i made this post, though i didn't know for sure to what depth your cat mania went :-)

    billoo, why these generalizations, so unlike you :-)

    Flipi, we have images and words to fight the decay of memories, though sometimes i become so tired of this struggle - yet one cannot completely leave it behind, if one is obsessed with photography, i think...
    (you write so beautifully)

  22. Lynne, speaking to her in Cat?!!! i would love to hear a recording of that :-)
    yes, i was also fascinating but that light spot on the tail, it just happened and i hadn't even notice it when taking the picture!
    and i suppose it is very difficult to not associate cat with femininity, an universal constant, it seems!

    Dan, heavenly cats and rats, what a surreal story :-)

    K'line, merci pour ce petit poeme pour la gloire des chats :-)
    je t'embrasse avec une grace feline, ou au moins je l'espere :-)

  23. to be continued, Prospero?!! now this makes me worried :-P
    all i can say is that i am happy that the Bridge seems to bring out hidden talents in my readers, surely your writer soul seems to have come to life here, i expect a dedication on the first page of your published novel, which will certainly include secrete gardens, circus, dwarfs and puppies, oh and i forgot the porkpie hat ladies of your last post.

    it seems you also remembered my Berlin-appartment adventures that i had mentioned somewhere else, at least i thought i identified a subtle innuendo to that other saga in your sea of rhetoric richness. more about my Berlin-adventures soon on the Bridge, if the gods of photography will allow that :-)

    my beautiful cat-woman, thank you.

    Stickup, yes, contemplating animals or insects or birds is fascinating, i guess because we are able to witness a life so pure and natural, untainted by consciousness and its tortures, no?

  24. mirae, i am glad i 'forced' you to say such lovely things here, yet again :-) and thank you for the Eliot gift, you know my weakness for him!
    i have to confess i am not a cats person either, rather a fish person, as you already know :-), my pets-story starts and finishes there, with that little fish.
    that is why it is all the more fascinating for me to try to understand the cat obsession which is so prevalent among so many people...
    bisous, je t'embrasse, chere et fidele amie...

    thank you alterdom, you are very kind... dream cat and cat dreaming is a lovely way to describe this post :-)

    ffflaneur, me too! but i am happy i (or rather: my light and shadow play) have/has found a weakness in you :-)

    Neil, a cat ghost story! really?
    then you must see the japanese film i mentioned here in my text, if you haven't already, that would be reason enough to find a connection to it, though i am sure the black and white beauty of its visuals is enough to mesmerize you.

  25. anon, are you complaining about my Bridge-laziness? :-)

    liebste Renée, ja, normalerweise fotografiere ich Katzen, oder auch Tiere allgemein, sehr selten, ich finde, es ist schwer, kunstvolle Bilder mit Tieren zu machen. aber hier hat mir das Licht- und Schattenspiel geholfen :-)
    ich umarme Dich ganz lieb und wuensche Dir einen ruhigen Sonntag noch...

    the second anon, 'For silver moons are naught to her and naught to her the suns that reel'...

    Cera, sunt sigură un taur nu are cum să se simtă altfel decât neliniştit în preajma unei pisici, el cu nevoia lui de stabilitate şi inerţia lui, altfel decât lenea jucăuşă a pisicii :-)