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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