The Exodus by Fred Chappell



In his rotting hermit's cloak,

With his scarlet shepherd's crook. Death followed in our track.

These  the words he spoke:


"How do you hope to flee? Where think you to hide?

You  shan 't outdistance me.

 I am within, beside,

Amid, before, behind.

Earth holds no place to go. "


We agreed that this was so,

But no one changed his mind

And none of us turned back.




Migration by Fred Chappell



Finally the moted sunlight

The cat has followed across the rug

This February afternoon,

Napping in its glow all snug

And cozy, diminishes to dun light,

Then darkens like a tarnishing spoon.


So she seeks out the register

Where the furnace breathes into the room

An arid, fumy pour of air

That now within the sunless gloom

Makes a tropic of her fur.


She plumps herself into bolster form

And shuts her eyes and folds her paws

And sinks into an opium doze

That causes her to feel twice warm

As we advance, listless and weary,

Through our human February.



“Migration” by Fred Chappell is from his privately published book called Companion Volume, printed, bound, and published by Susanne Martin at Yonno Press in 2004.  It appeared in a limited edition of 50 copies, an 8 ˝ by 11” volume, with marbled endpapers and, according to the colophon, was printed on a Vandercook number 1 proof press.  Unpaginated, it contains 40 poems, all of which are about the poet’s cats.  And, as the colophon goes on to say, the thick, rough-textured paper , also made by Ms Martin, includes cat hair from Chloe and Marti, both of whom are deceased and who are the subjects of many of these poems. 

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Fred Chappell


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