Saturday, April 29, 2006

In Memory of Our Cat, Ralph

by Garrison Keillor

When we got home, it was almost dark.
Our neighbor waited on the walk.
"I'm sorry, I have bad news," he said.
"Your cat, the gray-black one, is dead.
I found him by the garage an hour ago."
"Thank you," I said, "for letting us know."
We dug a hole in the flower bed
With lilac bushes overhead,
Where this cat loved to lie in spring
And roll in dirt and eat the green
Delicious first spring bud,
And laid him down and covered him up,
Wrapped in a piece of tablecloth,
Our good old cat laid in the earth.
We quickly turned and went inside
The empty house and sat and cried
Softly in the dark some tears
For that familiar voice, that fur,
That soft weight missing from our laps,
That we had loved too well perhaps
And mourned from weakness of the heart.
A childish weakness, to regard
An animal whose life is brief
With such affection and such grief.
If such is weakness, so it be.
This modest elegy
Is only meant to note the death
Of one cat so we won't forget
His face, his name, his gift
Of cat affection while he lived,
The sweet shy nature
Of this graceful creature,
The simple pleasure of himself,
The memory of our cat, Ralph.

Posted in memory of our cat, Mittens, who died February 16, 2006.


  1. Was your cat old? Are you going to get another?

  2. Mom! it was MITTENS! who died this year! NOT MIDNIGHT! Midnight ran away when I was in like FIRST grade! ok....?

  3. Thank you for posting this. I've been looking for a text version of this poem for hours now, and I finally found this blog and lo and behold, there it was! I'm a blogger myself, but I hardly ever use my blogger account. Thank you again.

  4. Thank you for posting this poem, our cat died today and I had a memory vestige of hearing this poem by Garrison Keillor one day when I was driving...
    I love what your daughter wrote!!

    1. I love this poem and I love Garrison Keillor. Thank you for sharing it. Anyone who recently lost a cat can better grieve by reading this poem, It helps.