English XI (Old Course)

The Concrete Cat – Summary | The Magic of the Words

 This is a typographical poem of a cat. It is meant for eyes, not for mind and heart as it conveys no ideas. The poet has told about cat and its activity. Dorthi Charles has drawn a picture of the cat on the paper.
The picture is drawn with words, but not sentences. The word cat does not appear, but the other words are the names of the body of a cat. For example – they are eyes, ears, mouth, paw and whisker. Other words are added to put the cat in a place. For example – dish and litter box. The long word of stripe and tripe indicate the colorful bands on the cat’s body, and the tissues of the mouse in the stomach of the cat respectively. The mouse is upside down. It is killed and eaten by the cat. These tell us the cat is a pet and not a wild cat.

Would you consider “The Concrete Cat” a poem?

                Yes, it is a work of art or a poem. Conventionally a piece of poem is written in lines following certain rhyme patterns. A poet makes special choice of words to convey his or her message. Figures of speech such as similes, metaphors, pun etc. are used to make the language of the poem metaphorical, and to create musicality or rhythm. A poem evokes in the readers emotions and feelings when they read it. At the same time, it also delights them and imparts knowledge on some matters.

                On the above bases, “The Concrete Cat” is a poem. It is a poem for eyes, not for heart and mind. It has appealed to our eyes, one of the senses. Although it does not arouse in the reader a flow of emotion, it causes laughter in them because usually a poem cannot be composed in the graphic form. Besides, Charles has used a pun. The word ‘stripe’ can be pronounced as ‘tripe’. ‘Stripes’ mean the colorful bands on the body of the cat whereas ‘tripes’ stand for tissues of the mouse the cat has killed and had. Here language aspires to poetry. By using the letters and words on a while piece of paper, Charles has drawn the picture of an alert cat and has told his readers about a cat and its activity. Therefore, it is a poem.

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