The following is in response to Hollis Seamon’s lyric essay “The Trojan Cat” that I read via Persimmon Tree, an online literary journal.
Seamon’s three-part lyric essay caught me by surprise. She has put words to something that I have heard of so many times—that I’ve seen on television countless times—and has given it a new, brighter light. It is, in the words of popular culture, a “cat-lady” tale; you get it tale, tail?
In the essay, Seamon turns what would seem disgusting to some people into something beautiful: the smell of cats giving birth in her bed is now “life, at last, come into your house, once again;” so many cats have showed up at her home that they are in her trees, though to her they appear to be “curling down from the branches, streamers of multicolored fur. Festive. Utterly beautiful.”
With images like these, I will have a different perspective on the so called “cat-ladies” on the animal hoarding show that comes on the Animal Planet from time to time. If I concentrate hard enough will I see the beauty that is described in Seamon’s essay? Will I root for the dirty lady with the wide smile painted on a contorted, scratched face, or for the men in masks?