Friday, August 12, 2016

late summer leaving

There's a gentle battle going on at our house...

I Defend a Habitually Rash Action to My Teenager

Yes, daughter, I let the cat out again.
      It’s late summer and the world is
      steaming with sunshine,
      streaming with cloud and blossom
      and voluptuous voles.

He is not wise but filled with the beastly miracle of himself,
filled with the urge to be out,
to make his foolish way.

(You know how he comes back after
two minutes or two days, stands at the threshold,
leans in, steps back, leans in,
then turns and bolts away?)

Yes, daughter, I know there are dangers
out there—sly foxes, cars that run so
      silently we don’t hear them coming,
      other cats who are not kind.

But I have no right to keep him in, happy
as he is in his carpeted climber, curled
in any of his many cozy corners, thrilled
as he is by his kibble.

He knows his instincts.

Disaster may await.  Yes, daughter,
there might be sadness.
I slide the door open, and trust.

©Heidi Mordhorst 2016

I can only imagine what it will be like next year, when daughter is 18...

Our Poetry Friday round-up is with Julieann at To Read To Write To Be, where her small commitment to GO AHEAD with poetry in the first days of school has inspired me!


  1. Gorgeous language, Heidi! Love it.

  2. In our house, if you don't slide the door open, he would soon do it himself... I'm not sure how it is that both our JontyPuppy... and later, our SavvyCat... taught themselves to open doors. :\ Lovely poem. I like your gentle telling. Stay safe, puss-cat.

  3. The only way they can figure out themselves is to question everything about us first. Bless the daughters, every snarky one. Easy for me to say, since mine is only 7. I do have a 14 year old boy, though, so I know a little about snark.

  4. I have that same cat and daughter. Right now they are both asleep in the house, but all too soon they both will be venturing out into that dangerous world. Oh yes, "disasters may await" but we still open the door.

  5. I love how you wove the cat as one of the central figures in a poem that speaks of a mother's thoughts about the release factor, Heidi.

  6. This was a perfect mother's poem...ya gotta open the door...they gotta go out...
    and not everything is kind and perfect out there -
    but you hope you taught them enough.

  7. This one brings an ache of recognition to this mama (well, and cat lover too, of course). Well done, Heidi. Hope you and yours - kids, students, cats - have a great start to the school year.

  8. You sure know cats, and teens, and kindness.

  9. Love this. And of course it's not just cats we have to let go, is it?

  10. I have 2 outside cats and they are always wanting to come in. I have one inside cat who always wants to go out. The grass is greener syndrome. I love your poem of voice in defense of the wandering cat. It's nature, after all.

  11. Wonderful poem, Heidi, though my heart sides with your daughter on this one. Memories can be so painful.

  12. This one gets me right in the heart.

  13. Heidi, you have crafted this poem so sweetly. It's hard to believe how quickly the time flies.

  14. I'm with Ruth, this one gets me in the heart.....since I live in a suburb and had a favorite cat....well, you know. But the call of the wild is a ferociously beautiful thing. Love the sweet side of this poem.....but the serious wisdom as the narrator knows that the daughter will one day walk out of the door into her life. Well done.

  15. I should have realized from the title that this poem isn't entirely about the cat. Thank you for helping this reader with that closing sentence, "I can only imagine what it will be like next year, when daughter is 18..." I re-read with a new lens. Lovely x 2.

  16. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. I love this. We have indoor/outdoor cats...and teenagers. And I understand and love this, Heidi. Thank you. xxx

  17. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. I love this. We have indoor/outdoor cats...and teenagers. And I understand and love this, Heidi. Thank you. xxx

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