We named him Babur;
the sweet Marmalade cat
we kept,
because he carried
in his stripes a tiger spirit,
brave and bold
(his less-striped
lion-brother we called Simba).

“Babur, that means tiger”,
my father said
who had the privilege of books
to name our cats,
and to name a cat is a difficult matter.

When he came, his pads were
plum-soft pink, but
his claws were diamond blades,
and while still,
he was a little boy
like me, he fell
asleep purring fur to face,
his tiger-heart a walnut in my hand.

He outgrow me,
and as tomcat roamed
as street-light shadow, nocturnal carnivore
hunting for delight,
(like I would later do)
but as many teens before, one night
became his last;
a passing car crushed his skull
without a thought
and Babur’s spirit left.

Forever since
I see the tiger left
in every Marmalade and wonder how
I managed to grow old.

This is not Babur, but it could have been

Today Anmol hosts at dVerse, and wants us to write about cats and for a while forgetting the ordeal of climate change and conflict.

Also linking up to the final Tuesday Platform

Just a cat-video for fun as well

August 27, 2019

25 responses to “Babur

  1. Oh my….poor Marmelade. Love the juxtapositioning of your growing years to your experiences and the experiences of Marmalade. What a GREAT name for a cat. The ending for me, is a wonderful thoughtful introspective twist.

  2. I have always had a thing for orange and ginger cats. Such a sweet and sad memory. I no longer have cats for the same reason; it is so hard to say goodbye.

  3. A poignant verse and a rich tribute to Babur, Bjorn! It’s wonderful how you created that parallel between his growth and yours — the “nocturnal carnivore/hunting for delight,/(like I would later do)” is so well done. Also, the ‘tiger-heart a walnut in my hand’ and ‘plum-soft pink [pads]’ are such lovely phrases.

  4. Babur was the Marmelade cat; the name shifts confuse me a bit, but the poem was delightful, and Babur & Simba should visit the aged librarian, because Babur is a wonderful character; worthy of appearing in future poetics.

  5. A nice cat tale, Bjorn. Our Marmelade was a spayed female named Amber. Amber had a much simpler life after she came to live with us retired folk. Her recorded start was as a rescue cat saved by our daughter’s friend.

  6. They certainly leave their paw prints across our hearts! Love the plum-soft pink pads and diamond blade claws. Soft playful ball of fur vs skillful hunting carnivore. You painted a beautiful picture of a boy and “his” cat.

  7. Oh brilliant, Bjorn… the wonderful tribute apart, the subtle lines in the middle – my father said
    who had the privilege of books
    to name our cats,
    and to name a cat is a difficult matter…. were just too good!

  8. “wonder how
    I managed to grow old.”

    A perfect encapsulation of our ephemeral, fraught, and tragic relationship with our fellow travelers.

  9. Oh man, Bjorn. This is quite wrenching. It is difficult to name cats, who care not a whit what we name them. I had an orange and white cat who died a horrible death when I was a kid. Damn if I don’t still think about that cat, named Sunshine. How did we get old anyway? That I definitely think about every day. Thanks for this lovely poem.

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