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Four Poems about Animals 


The Cook, The Cat and The King

Melas is the cook’s cat.
At night he sleeps in her cap.
He spends the day on the King’s lap.
He often meddles with the tap
To see the water running.
He fills the cook’s cap with water
The King’s lap with mud
And he says “What does it matter?
“I am Melas* the cook’s cat!”
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* Melas = black in Greek

Song of a rattlesnake by a soft spring night

Krotos* is a rattlesnake
he’s unsociable and odd.
Children see him and trot
away, saying :
“What an impossible playmate
and so cold”.

Krotos feels the cold no doubt
he’s no beauty all in all.
With company he’s silent
or at most he nods.
But at night when he’s lonesome
he composes odes,

To the frog – lady of the river
hence the verses he sends thither
in his blog:

“Phryni, so young and pretty
flattered but aloof,
went by the other evening
without a look.
And disdainful and haughty
mounted the cart

of that ghastly man Toadoroff,
which wrang my heart.

Ra – ttle – Ra – ttle – Ra – ttle – Ra – ttle
Ra – ttle – Ra – ttle – Rat

You will never find a lover
half as steady as that”.
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* Krotos = rattle in Greek



The Mongrel Dog

Who walks at night without fear
avoiding shadows far or near
    in the bog?

Who plays hide and seek, gets lost
and loses himself in the fog?

Who likes to roast his toes
in front of the fire while sipping
   a frothy egg – nog?

Who steals in the captain’s cabin
and makes a mess of the ship’s log?

The mongrel, the mongrel,
the veritably mongrel, yeah!
the truly mongrel, Me!
the mongrel, the mongrel dog!

To Mr Eel

Mr Eel, tell me, do I need
to kneel in front of you
in order to be forgiven?
Yes, I have eaten you, I confess,
and not without my will,
but you were tasty, well cooked,
with gastronomical zeal.
So, can I hope, once, to hear the peal
of  your laughter (your progeny’s laughter
rather), in forgiveness, or
do I go downhill
in a terrific avalanche, head over heel?
From sorrow?
There’s a big dilemma for you Mr Eel,
as you sit in your pond,
pondering about your evening meal.
You see, don’t you, that in matters important,
you, and I, have a common feel,
eh, Mr Eel?


Maria Tsatsou