Marcus Aurelius Minds the Cat/The Cat Minds Marcus

I meditate upon my huntress ‘Luxor’
Nature dressed her first in camouflage
To seek repose at noon in tree or brush
Then if chance or moonlight might allow
Ambush at a glance

She seems not over-harsh nor rigorous
But has her silent armies   –
Incisors and her claws
She keeps oil-cleaned and gloved
As soberly she pads abroad
To tend her business interests
The better then to turn her enemies
Send malcontents alarm
And disappear before their wounds have opened   –
‘Rip and run’   –   she seems diminutive?
Let Sparta step into your mind

She will decide and guard her boundaries
Casually strolling dawn patrol
And when she sleeps her radar scans the room
And when awake she sniffs air of suspicion   –

At a shadow see her leaping sideways
City wide-boys cannot buy her bling
Offering a love as crass as money

And no assassin walks by day or night
Immortalises Marcus prematurely

She is Empire reasoning herself
Rome as sensual intelligence





Marcus my protector scribbles his asides   –
He favours ‘hearts and minds’
Abhors despotic bloodshed
His ‘Meditations’ would be law in Rome
If he did not suffer circumspection
But strike assertively!   Otherwise
Republic shapes our world to fit its claws   –
A ‘civilized’ sly form of slavery

Starving tigers tearing meals
Alive from sordid sands in the Arena
While lethal citizens roar for more?

Marcus shut that system down
Now he addresses Existence

I wish he were more cat-like
I sense he feels as me
An Exile in his own country   –
And for seeing in the future
And for seeing in the dark
They consign him to the past


Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer,
after “The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer” by Jean-Léon Gérôme




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