Recently Tigger and I were talking about poetry.  I told her that
when I was about her age, I memorized a wonderful poem called McCavity the Mystery Cat,
by T.S. Elliot.  I no longer have it stored in my brain, so I
tracked it down via Google, from which all good things and many bad
things pour forth.  I have no legal right to post a poem I did not
write, but Elliot’s been dead for 40 years, so I don’t think he’ll
mind.  Here it is.

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

 Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw –

 For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.

 He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:

 For when they reach the scene of crime – Macavity’s not there!

 Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,

 He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.

 His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,

 And when you reach the scene of crime – Macavity’s not there!

 You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air –

 But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there!

 Mcavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and thin;

 You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.

 His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;

 His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.

 He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;

 And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake.

 Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,

 For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.

 You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square –

 But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!

 He’s outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)

 And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s.

 And when the larder’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,

 Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled,

 Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair –

 Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Macavity’s not there!

 And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty’s gone astray,

 Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,

 There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair –

 But it’s useless to investigate – Mcavity’s not there!

 And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:

 `It must have been Macavity!’ – but he’s a mile away.

 You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,

 Or engaged in doing complicated long-division sums.

 Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,

 There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.

 He always has an alibi, and one or two to spaer:

 At whatever time the deed took place – MACAVITY WASN’T THERE!

 And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known

 (I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)

 Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time

 Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!


16 thoughts on “

  1. Is  it a copyright infringement if the publishing party collects nothing from doing so and gives credit to the author? I give you credit for memorizing all that! Impressive. What did Tigger think?

  2. I think if you credit it, you might be okay.  Not sure.
    Anyway, have you seen Cats?  Because that’s also one of the best songs in the show.  Should take her to it now.

  3. My girls liked watching the video of Cats, which is an adaptation of a bunch of these poems. Not quite as impressive as memorizing them but it still exposed them to something new!

  4. You’ve given credit, you’re fine. You’re covered, darlin’.
    I love T. S. Eliot. Brilliant writing. And I love that whole collection. Thanks for the sharing.

  5. i was mcavity in a play once…
    it was way cool. i got to do magic tricks and dissapear of stage multiple times in various ways, my favorite being the one involving smoke and a cape. i had a double too. good times…

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