Magical cat


Who would think
a black cat
with its tail in the air
and slate-blue eyes
a heretic
would survive the Inquisition?

they nailed her to a cross
and the nails sprang out of the oaken cross
and she hurried away
down the narrow Roman road

Bernard of Clairvaux
tried friendly persuasion
“I can do nothing with this cat!”
he exclaimed
“she has no shame”

show her the instruments
they said
and out of the window she flew
into the forests of Gascony

burn the heretic!
they cried
the unshamable cat

her nonchalence enraged them all
so calmly, at Béziers
did she walk through flames—
emerging from the rubble at Montségur
she paused to wash her face

Stuart Dodds

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