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  • Writer's pictureCile

Episode Ninety Nine, Who Will Feed My Cat?

Updated: Feb 14

I confess. I've never considered myself good at riddles and this poem reads like one to me. I have pondered what Hafiz may have been alluding to here and, frankly, I have no idea BUT I decided I could still write about what it prompted me to think of which are these personal pet virtues: ego, legacy, and self awareness.

I think my ideas of myself are like my feline pets. I feed them and they purr as I stroke their soft, comforting fur. I often perceive myself as likeable - lovable, even - and take solace in that. Occasionally my ego will turn on my loving hand for a bite or fail to acknowledge my vitality by ignoring me entirely deeming me invisible and unnecessary. The identity of self may gift me with fleas or a prized vermin for dramatic effect and a reality check. I care for this personal idea of myself and maintain its earthly needs daily. I'm vested. I have a life-long intimate relationship here.

...My cat is not ordinary...

So when I die? Who will care for this extraordinary idea of myself when I'm gone? One can try, I suppose, to force a light to shine on one just so to make their legacy appear a certain way but, in truth, everyone has their own ideas of who we are that they have designed for their own comfort or displeasure when considering who we are. Others ideas of me are really none of my business.

In the end, there is only my personal concepts of my fiery passions, my watery dreams, and airy ideas with no earthly sentience to maintain purchase in the domesticated animal that I have come to identify with that prowls around on all four paws while I'm alive. When I die, I will be gone and so will this anthropomorphic idea of my personality. No one need feed this cat. It leaves when I do.

Thank you for listening.

Music: This subject made me think of the song by Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now which I relate to this subject as I would expect to understand things differently on the other side of this life. Entering into a greater understanding is an act laced with melancholy abandon of attachments which Joni captures here in this song. She begins singing about romantic love and is it not romantic to groom an idea of one's precious self while one domesticates it and lives it? When one has outgrown a life, one must move into a larger dispensation of soul, whether it is death or some other transformation one is sad to leave the comfort of one's pet and companion; one's corporeal existence and beloved illusions.

...I've looked at life from both sides now

From up and down and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all.

The original post in this series of poems by Hafiz (including an addendum regarding the authenticity of these poems) can be found here.

The Gift: Poems by Hafiz and translated by Daniel Ladinsky can be purchased here.


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