The Prize Cat
a mash up poem inspired by E.J. Pratt
Analyze the poem she said
I was an optimistic poet studying Canadian Poetry
I searched for answers in the stacks of the library periodical room
no google god would save me
I observed “The Prize Cat demonstrates an instant reversal to primal nature in a pet that has
been tamed and comes from a pure blood line.”1
Held my hand high “The human race is primal and uses instinctive needs as well as ethics in
order to survive and progress.”2
“No it’s not about that!” a sudden sharp assault.
“Could it not also be about human relationships?” I said gentility was in the fur.
“Is that the best you can do?” she gleamed.
“Though it pertains to a prize-tabby yet it also applies to the most cultivated of the humanspecies, male and female.”3
“No, you are wrong!” the jungle strains within the cells and in veins of her throat.
“Certainly there are different levels of meaning in the poem?” I said soft-mannered, musical in purr.
“You are wrong! It refers to Mussolini’s attack on Ethiopia just before the Second World War.”
Her eyes rolled back in a trance and caught me on the wing.
“You. Get out!” anger ever arched her back. “Get out of my class!”
“The sudden assault implies colossal powers uncontrolled and irresistible– not just out there in
the external world but here, close by, inside the domestic cat and within our own civilized self.”4
From behind the desk came the leap so furtive-wild.
“Why don’t you just go home and have babies!” she hissed.
And crying like an Abyssinian child had cried out in the whitethroat’s scream.
That’s exactly what I did.
1 Mensch, Fred, 1972, Aspects of Heroism and Evolution in Some Poems by E.J. Pratt. Univ. of Lethbridge. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts. P 23.
2 Ibid., 12.
3 Retrieved from: The Prize Cat: Annotations Box 7, no. 60.On his life and Poetry 95, www.trentu.ca/faculty/pratt/poems/annotations/134annotations.html .
4 MacDonald, R. D., 1995, E.J. Pratt: Apostle of the Techno/Corporate Culture? Canadian Poetry 37, p. 17-41. Retrieved from: http://canadianpoetry.org/volumes/vol37/macdonald.html.