Jul 30, 2012

Concrete Cat - Dorthi Charles


Using reduced language, the poet Dorthi Charles in her poem “Concrete Cat” presents a picture of a eat in victorious mood has recently killed a mouse. Opposite to general poetry that activates the readers emotionally with the help of words and sentences, the poet uses words to create general appearance of cat. In order to give perfect impression for the victorious cat, she uses capital letters in certain words. By using capital A in ear, she indicates the upright pointed ears of the cat in alterness. Capital Y in eye shows that the eyes are open and vigilant. Capital U in mouth indicates cat’s tongue which is likely to lick the eatables in the dish. Leaving spaces between the letters in tail, the poet wants to suggest that the spaces show the black colour of the tail which is waving. The mouse which is upside down is the latest killing of the cat. By replacing dishes and litter boxes near the cat, the poet indicates that the cat isn’t a wild cat but a domestic one.

Do you consider this work of art a poem?
Although “Concrete Cat” doesn’t look like a poem as no meaningful sentences are there to make it a poem, it is different type of poem known as concrete poem. Such poems are meant for our eyes and not for our ears. The main motive of such poems is to create physical image of intended theme by placing the words appropriately. It is not concerned with linguistic ideas and emotion. The language in such poems is called reduced language which is not like ordinary one with syntax. The arrangement of words to create intended image itself is main objective of a concrete poem.

What possible pun (humour) might be seen in cat’s stripes?
Pun is clever and humourous use of words having double meaning. While creating physical image of a cat with the help of words, the poet uses the word ‘stripes’ humourously by creating pun. One word is ‘stripes’ which means long band of colour all over the cat’s body. The second word is ‘tripes’ which means the stomach tissues of mice which the cat has eaten recently. The poet successfully creates a pun on the word ‘stripes’ in the poem.

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