Our Mother Tongue
By Delbert R. Gardner
Dear wife and I were talking of the need
For language, when our two cats had a spat--
The Tiger ambled near the Persian's feed,
The Persian growled, and Tiger went and sat
Some paces off in quiet dignity.
"Cats understand each other in any tongue,"
My pretty green-eyed wife explained to me.
To which I answered, "Yes, the idiom
Is all of language with animals, but still
They have so little to communicate."
"Correct--it's mostly fear and how to fill
Their bellies," she agreed, "--and love and hate."
"Come to think of it," I said in play,
"About the same things humans have to say!
"My father, Delbert R. Gardner, made his best cat friend later in life. Andy, a gray and white tabby, got off to a rocky start by repeatedly bouncing off my father's new hernia incision. But he soon redeemed himself with his devotion to Dad, approaching him each evening with the request that Dad put him to bed in his basket, sometimes with a song. A constant companion, "Andy boy" soon won the accolade "old buddy, old pal" and slept with my parents at night. Other poems of Dad's featuring cats of one stripe or another have appeared in Fine Arts Discovery and Spirit; Dad has also written about bulls, dogs, fish, mermaids, and other creatures. Over forty of Dad's poems and stories have appeared in publications such as The Literary Review, Poetry Digest, American Poetry Magazine, Provincetown Review, and Christian Science Monitor, among others." - Lyn Gardner