Denise Levertov

The Cat as Cat

The cat on my bosom
sleeping and purring
—fur-petalled chrysanthemum,

is a metaphor only if I
force him to be one,
looking to long in his pale, fond,
dilating, contracting eyes

that reject mirrors, refuse
to observe what bides

flex and reflex of claws
gently pricking through sweater to skin
gently sustains their own tune,
not mine. I-Thou, cat, I-Thou.