The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 22, 2016

June 22, 1956

Walter de la Mare, (April 25, 1873 to June 22, 1956) was an English writer better regarded during his lifetime than now. His anthology of poetry, Come Hither (1923) is stellar. His own writing includes these charming lines:

Puss loves man’s winter fire
Now that the sun so soon
Leaves the hours cold it warmed
In burning June.

She purrs full length before
The heaped-up hissing blaze,
Drowsy in slumber down
Her head she lays.

While he with whom she dwells
Sits snug in his inglenook,
Stretches his legs to the flame
And reads his book.

Poets as eminent as T. S. Eliot have praised Walter de la Mare. These lines appeared in a volume titled  
A Tribute to Walter de la Mare (1948).  This excerpt is from Eliot's poem 
"To Walter de la Mare" 

....when the lawn 
Is pressed by unseen feet, and ghosts return 
Gently at twilight, gently go at dawn, 
The sad intangible who grieve and yearn; 
When the familiar is suddenly strange 
Or the well known is what we yet have to learn, 
And two worlds meet, and intersect, and change; 
When cats are maddened in the moonlight dance, 
Dogs cower, flitter bats, and owls range 
At witches' sabbath of the maiden aunts; 
When the nocturnal traveller can arouse 
No sleeper by his call; or when by chance 
An empty face peers from an empty house; 
By whom, and by what means, was this designed?  
The whispered incantation which allows 
Free passage to the phantoms of the mind? 
By you; by those deceptive cadences 
Wherewith the common measure is refined; 
By conscious art practised with natural ease; 
By the delicate, invisible web you wove - 
The inexplicable mystery of sound. 

It may be time for a reappraisal of a writer so noticed.

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