Cardinal Sin

Dear Cardinal, I am so sorry
the cat who we keep as a pet
ate your partner.

You advertise for a mate
all over again
from the top of the forsythia.

Is it my guilt that detects a sad note,
or does that beating nugget of flesh
pump regret through your veins?

Either way, I absorb your loss,
buried no doubt as cat shit
under the earth freshly dug for peas and spinach.


16 thoughts on “Cardinal Sin

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    This is just wonderful, Melissa. You have not anthropomorphized the cardinal but hinted at the possibility that it might feel as we feel about love lost….and who knows? But that’s the circle of life.

  2. Argus

    Truly lovely photo. And there’s something Shakespearean about your conclusions … alas, poor cardinal.

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Thank you! Yes, hard to deny the prosaic ending has a certain inevitability to it.

  3. Murtagh's Meadow

    Oh dear, poor bird! Does the cat wear a bell? They did some research in the UK and as far as I remember cats with bells were less successful in catching birds! Great poem too!

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Sadly, the cat has managed to wriggle her way out of numerous collars with bells, and even when she wore them she managed to catch things. She is a dyed in the fur hunter. I try not to let her our when the birds are most active.

  4. Sunshine Jansen

    So well done; and the fact that the adorable killer is sitting next to a bleeding heart is the pièce de resistance!

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Cats have a way of bringing you back to the mundane. They always seem to be leaving behind some kind of a mess for their owners to clean up.

  5. Parmis

    Ouch! Other than that, what a delightfully written poem on a (sadly) familiar scenario. Over the years some of my cats have engaged in such crimes.


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