Our friend, Julie Harrison, had a wonderful cat named Ed who purred so loud you had trouble carrying on a conversation around him. After a very long life Ed became sick and she finally had to put him to sleep. As a cat owner I felt her pain and thought of this poem by an author that is unknown:

Cats are Wonderful Friends

Gentle eyes that see so much,
paws that have the quiet touch,
Purrs to signal "all is well"
and show more love than words could tell.
Graceful movements touched with pride,
a calming presence by our side –
A friendship that takes time to grow –
Small wonder why we love them so.

My friend, Dennis Donnelly is an outstanding New Jersey plaintiff’s trial lawyer. Before law school he taught school and has always been a lover of literature. Recently he introduced me to a poet I had not read before, Rainer Maria Rilke. One of his poems I enjoyed was this one:

            The Panther

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,Panther
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly–. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Other old favorites of mine include some of the following poetry. I find that my poety tastes are for the most part tranditional or perhaps old fashioned. I don't care for prose generally. I like the sound and feel of words that rhyme. I like poems that tell a story and inspire me in some way. From the poems I've selected, I’ve only repeated the lines that I particularly enjoy in the poem.

There is an old English ballad  that I like for it inspiration to keep on fighting on. I find it very inspiring when I’ve had a difficult experience

Johnie Armstrong

"…Saying: Fight on, my merry men all, and see that none of you be taine;
For rather then men shall say we were hanged; Let them report how we were slaine;
…Saying: Fight on my merry men all; And see that none of you be taine;
For I will stand by and bleed awhile, And then will I come and fight on againe’

The famous poem by Francis Thompson is really amazing Thompson was addicted to drugs and lived a live of utter poverty. This poem about finding God is one of the greatest

The Hound of Heaven

"I fled Him down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him down the arches of the years;
Of my own mind and in the mist of tears…

John Mansfield has captured the inner feeling I have about the sea in this poem. We have come from the stars and crawled from the sea so the sea is our home. Having been raised on the sea and spent a considerable part of my life on and around it Sea Fever has great meaning for me:

Sea Fever

"I must down t o the seas again to the lonely sea and the sky
And all I ask is at all ship and a star to steer her by
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sails shaking and a gray mist on the sea’s face and the gray dawn breaking"

Anne Bradstreet’s poem about her husband has wonderful lines about the bond between a husband and wife. I have often thought of these lines and the bond between my wife Lita and myself.

To My dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee:
If ever wife was happy in a man, compare me ye women if you can

I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
My love is such that rives cannot quench
Thy love is such I can no way repay;

The heavens heard thee manifold, I pray,
Then while we live in love let’s so persevere
That when we live no more we may live ever

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