“the naming of cats”

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey —
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter —
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum —
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover —
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

— t.s. eliot, “the naming of cats,” old possum’s book of practical cats

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if you want a rollicking, jolly, brave and uproarious work to read aloud of a darkening autumn evening, i would highly suggest you invest in a copy of old possum. preferably the edition illustrated by edward gorey. gather your most dramatic friends around you, then take turns reading the poems with vim and gusto (and possibly in one of several british dialects.)

if your sides are not absolutely splitting by the time you’re through, then follow that up with all the songs from g.k. chesterton’s the flying inn.