A cat must have three different names

THE NAMING OF CATS ~ T.S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey –
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter –
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover –
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

via: Brain Pickings by 

26 thoughts on “A cat must have three different names

  1. Great poem. Now all our cats each have at least three names, and which name they are called depends on their peculiar behavior at the moment we are addressing them. Then there is the bird who we call everything, including “darling”, darling, but we rarely ever call him by his name;)

    • That is just too funny. I hope there is no swear words when the kitties are running around in the middle of the night. I suppose the bird responses to darling more so by its real name. Sometimes I call my cats “buddha” or “fatso”

      • Fortunately our cats don’t evoke swearing, just names more descriptive of their behavior, which is ever changing it seems. Do you know David Alan Coe’s song “You Never Even Call Me By My Name”? That’s the inspiration for the “darling”, darling. It’s a great song if you like older style country music.

      • A well mannered cats then regardless of behaviour. Tee hee. I’ll check out the YouTube. I can’t remember the song. Have a good day, Timothy.

  2. To be honest, I have always thought Eliot over-rated, with the best thing he ever did being Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Pruforck, the Waste Land, The Screwtape letters, you can have them all…but this one little volume…priceless, unpretentious and perfect. Plus, the inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Cats musical.

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