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Catholic Concern for Animals
(Formerly: THE CATHOLIC STUDY CIRCLE FOR ANIMAL WELFARE)

Poetry

ST PETER AND THE CAT

St Peter took his last-night look around the Courts of Heaven:
     He’d locked the Golden Gates up fast, turned all the stars down even.
And every saint was in his bed, with cloudy duvet o’er him,
     Bepillowed every haloed head, and hushed was each ‘Adore Him’.

But as the Saint turned down the lamp beside the Golden Gateway,
     He heard a patter through the stars: ‘Who cometh here so late, hey?’
And Cat ran up, slipped through the Gate, rubbed, purring, round St Peter:
     Said he: ‘Good Saint, may I come in? For Heaven with me is sweeter!’

The Saint’s grave brow grew stern and grim – ‘Now answer’, he demanded,
     ‘What have you done for good of Man, for ’twas good our God ommanded?
But you have hunted small and weak, and stolen food from Man’s table,
     You have used Man for your own ends alone: where is good in you – fact or fable?’

Then Cat sat down and he licked his paw, and he touched up his ear and whisker,
     And Cat looked up and Saint looked down – and Peter’s shrewd gaze grew brisker.
Then he smiled a small smile as he looked at Cat, and he said: ‘Man never owned you,
     For God made you for Himself alone, and He to Man has but loaned you!’

St Peter reached his holy hand beneath Cat’s chin to tickle,
     The while Cat arched and preened and purred: quoth Saint: ‘Aye, your sins be mickle!
– But the good you have done is to make Man glad: in the bread of his life you’re the leaven.
     So come in, Cat, sit by God’s own hearth, and gladden the Courts of Heaven!’

Annabelle Sheppard

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