Posted by: jevcat | February 10, 2011

On Anniversaries, Words, and Cats

There must have been something in the air this time last year.  In the last month, I have seen several blogs celebrating their first anniversaries, and today is mine.  After a few years of working up my courage, I started this blog a year ago today.  I did it for a lot of reasons, many of them common to most bloggers:  to have an outlet for my writing, as an act of discipline, to force myself to write more, to develop as a writer – and, of course, to win fame and fortune.  Well, four out of five isn’t bad.

What I found was more than I bargained for:  something to hold on to in a world where nothing was stable and a community of other writers (and readers) who enjoy what I write, encourage me, and support me in ways I couldn’t have imagined a year ago.  I haven’t posted as often as I would have liked, but I think I have held to my promise to myself not to just throw something up for the sake of posting, but only if I had something to say.  I have tried not to be self-absorbed or to use this space as a place for public whinging, and I think/hope I have succeeded in that.

I’m grateful to everyone who has read something I’ve written, to everyone who has forwarded something to someone else, to everyone who has commented, and I am honored to have made it onto at least one other writer’s blogroll.

Since I love words, the beating heart of language, and, since I am endebted to my cats, without whose interference I would have much less about which to write, I thought I would celebrate today by sharing an old Irish poem.  I first stumbled across it many years ago as attributed to St. Columba, although the information I find now just assigns it to an early medieval Irish monk.  It has been translated a number of times, but this version, by Robin Flower, is my favorite (even beating Auden’s).










Pangur Ban

I and Pangur Ban, my cat,
‘Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will;
He, too, plies his simple skill.

‘Tis a merry thing to see
At our task how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
Into the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den.
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine, and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade ;
I get wisdom day and night,
Turning Darkness into light.

[For more information, click here and for both info and the original Irish text, here.]


  1. Lovely post, jevcat – that poem is just delightful and perfect for a cat-loving writer! Congratulations on your anniversary – good to have connected with you.

    • Thanks! I enjoyed your post today, too — and it’s nice to know where “Sunshine” comes from 🙂

  2. Happy Anniversary!
    I am so glad you ventured forth out into the blogosphere–your posts are always just wonderful.

    I enjoyed the poem about the cat…of course I did.
    I love cats.
    More than dogs.
    Don’t tell my cats, though, or my dog.
    blessings, dear friend

    • Thanks, Jane. I knew you’d like the poem. Getting to know you and your writing has been one of the best things about blogging. And my lips are sealed 🙂

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