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Stacy Mantle

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Once Upon A Midnight Dreary...
by Stacy Mantle

Monday, October 31, 2005
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Stacy Mantle
•  People Pounding On My Door
•  Puppy for Adoption
•  An Ode to Poe
•  Once Upon A Midnight Dreary...
•  The Dancing Kitten
           >> View all 13

Back by popular demand in time for Halloween! And once again, I offer my most sincere apologies to Mr. Edgar Allen Poe...

Once upon a late night dreary, while watching TV, weak and weary,
Surfing through unusual, and violent TV shows,
While we nodded, nearly napping,
suddenly, there came a tapping,
As of someone rapping, rapping at our small cat door.
"Tis some stray, " I muttered softly, "Tapping at our small cat door – Only this, and nothing more…"

Ah, distinctly I recall - it was during the late fall,
And each feral cat we have, scrambled in across the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - frightened of the constant slapping
of the feral cat a tapping – some sign of mind-crazed tapping -
For the horrid sound of door flap as it slammed against the door
Even Coyote stopped his yapping, quickly silent evermore...

And the sad consistent tapping of the constant, steady rapping
Thrilled me - filled me with a terror, that I'd never felt before;
So that now to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some stray cat wanting entrance at the path of my cat door -
Some late stray cat wanting entrance at the path of my cat door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Tom,' said I, `or Queen, your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was watching, and suddenly you came rapping,
And so loud you came a tapping, rapping at my small cat door,
That I ran to see you, scared to death - I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there seeing,
Doubting, fearful dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And no words were ever spoken, only hisses in the wind,
Brave, I hissed into the darkness, and an echo hiss returned...
Merely this and nothing more...

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely, there is a cat at my small door;
Let me see what type he is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis a cat and nothing more!'

Suddenly, I flung the flap, when, with many a scattering yap,
There stepped a big black cat of my neighbors house next door!
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched before my small cat door –
Sitting on the dirt before me, just outside my small cat door -
Sat, and stared, and nothing more.

Then the black cat, sitting lonely near the small cat door, spoke only,
Just one word, as if his soul in that single word did pour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a whisker did he flutter -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Many cats have been before -
On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the cat hissed, `Nevermore!'

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the cat whose fiery eyes now burned through my small cat door;
This and more I sat divining, with my pets gathered behind me,
glancing through the small cat door that the flash-light gloated o'er,
But whose clear plastic flap with the flash-light gloating o'er,
He shall tap, ah, nevermore!

`Stray cat!' said I, feral cat! - Feline still, if pet or stray! -
Whether tempter sent, or tempest tossed thee here at my cat door,
Desolate yet still undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
At this home by pets we’re stunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Are you - are you homeless? - Tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the feline, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, pet or feral!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into thy home - go on through the neighbor’s door!
Do not bully my poor felines, and recognize that I hath spoken!
Leave my frightened pets unbroken! – disappear from my cat door!
Take thy tail from out my heart, and stop rapping at my door!'
Quoth the feline, `Nevermore.'

And the feline, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
Terrorizing all my kittens just outside my small cat door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a tom cat's that is dreaming,
And the flash-light o'er him streaming throws his fur upon the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!


Pets Weekly
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Reviewed by Jill Carpenter 5/4/2006

As always, you shine brightest when you write about your experiences with animals. I doubt there's any need to apologize to Mr. Poe, he'd probably like it! Who knows? Maybe that mysterious black cat WAS Mr. Poe. Coming back to give you inspiration after tap-tap-tapping on your cat door.

Very spooky! Good job Stacy!!
Reviewed by Barbara Terry 5/4/2006
Stacy this is so precious. I smiled through the entire poem; something I don't get to do enough of these days. I agree with Sandie and Pea, this is a very clever take on Poe's original...Thnx Stacy for sharing this with us.

May the Lord Jesus bless you, and those whom you love, and be with you always, and at your side constantly. With much love in my heart, joy to the world, peace on earth, & ((((((((((MANY WONDERFUL SISTERLY HUGGGGSSSS)))))))))), your little sister in poetry and prose, Barbie

"If I have to be this girl in me, Then I have the right to be."
Reviewed by Phyllis Jean Green 1/25/2006
V e r y c l e v e r. Rhyme is impeccable. . . l o v e i t.
Sounds like you have a houseful of pets. . .who like our dogs, Nicky and Sugar, own you, lock, stock, and kibble? Worth it 'cuz they
spell H o m e. Right? Tell your dogs and cats that I said they
are beautiful. Sure they know -- hear it often enough --, but I
just have to say it. As for whether they can spell, I swear Nick and Shoog can. Thanks for posting --or re-posting -- this. 'Pea' <3
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 11/1/2005
Yup, they do that to terrorize. Do you know that they pick their leaders also? Once in a while I see a few sitting around in groups as if they're holding a meeting. Tom cats always make leaders. If you observe them long enough, you will know who is the strongest leader in the neighbourhood, and who is the biggest bully. The weaker ones always hide when the bully comes around.

A good entertaining write, Stacy! I enjoyed the suspense!

Sandie May Angel a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o)

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