I think about my friend, Rainer Rilke, and his love
affair with questions.
I think he would appreciate Alasdair Reid's take
on Curiosity via Cats and Dogs.
Let's go there for a moment - read slowly, breathe
into the phrases and the words - and stay open
to whatever the message may be waiting for
you to hear it.
may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably.
Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.
Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die--
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.
Only the curious have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.
Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do.
- Alasdair Reid
= = =
Rainer Rilke suggested to his Young Poet
correspondent he should ""Have patience with
everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
Try to love the questions themselves, like
locked rooms and like books written in a foreign
language. Do not now look for the answers.
They cannot now be given to you because you
could not live them. It is a question of
experiencing everything. At present you need
to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually,
without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing
the answer, some distant day.”
This reminds me of the curious cat.
I get the feeling the cat doesn't relentlessly
ask question after question after question. Cats,
in my estimation sit and stalk and then leap.
They don't chase relentlessly.
Cats are ever curious in a more....oh, can't
even find words to wrap around it and now I
must go pick up Emma and leave this string
dangling while I am away.
I will, more than likely, be batting at it
with my fist, cat-like, loving the questions
I have raised, sitting on a small rug in front
of their unlocked doors, waiting, sniffing,
basking in rays of sun from the window at
the end of the hall.
What are your thoughts?