End of days: Why cats have it better than we do

Highly recommended: Free emailed posts from The Writer’s Almanac—a new poem a day and the kind of poetry a person can understand.

Photo/Isaac Wedin

Here’s today’s poem about the end of cats and the end of people–right on the money from Marge Piercy’s book, The Hunger Moon.  If you want to sign up for a daily hit of poetry, google Writer’s Almanac. There’s a choice to listen to these or read them. I read. You do what you want….it’s the geezer’s mantra.

End of Days

by Marge Piercy

Almost always with cats, the end
comes creeping over the two of you—
she stops eating, his back legs
no longer support him, she leans
to your hand and purrs but cannot
rise—sometimes a whimper of pain
although they are stoic. They see
death clearly though hooded eyes.

Then there is the long weepy
trip to the vet, the carrier no
longer necessary, the last time
in your lap. The injection is quick.
Simply they stop breathing
in your arms. You bring them
home to bury in the flower garden,
planting a bush over a deep grave.

That is how I would like to cease,
held in a lover’s arms and quickly
fading to black like an old-fashioned
movie embrace. I hate the white
silent scream of hospitals, the whine
of pain like air-conditioning’s hum.
I want to click the off switch.
And if I can no longer choose

I want someone who loves me
there, not a doctor with forty patients
and his morality to keep me sort
of, kind of alive or sort of undead.
Why are we more rational and kinder
to our pets than to ourselves or our
parents? Death is not the worst
thing; denying it can be.

“End of Days” by Marge Piercy, from The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980 – 2010. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Note from Mel: You can also get Piercy’s poems on your Kindle…Amazon link above.

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This entry was posted in Growing older, Over 80, Philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to End of days: Why cats have it better than we do

  1. Virginia says:

    This poem says it all for me!

  2. Beverly Cramer says:

    I have to agree whole-heartedly with the sentiments in the writtings

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