Using flash photography last Friday night, I managed to get neighbors Jay Haas’ and Didi Thompson’s Charlie cat climbing into a field of horses.…which is better than getting a Charlie horse climbing into a field of cats.

Cats, the musical, was loosely based on a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot titled Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Opening in 1982, Cats played for 20 years, becoming the world’s longest-running musical, and it now cries out for a sequel. Eliot died in 1965, however, so I’ve decided to submit my own collection of doggerel à la Eliot titled Old Cat’s Book of Practical Possums.

If any of my British readers happen to know composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, please tell the baron he can make millions more with a sequel called Possums, which will be loosely based on my transforming poetry — assuming, of course, I get my 10 percent.

The Naming of Possums

The naming of possums is a difficult calling.
It isn’t a matter of mere caterwauling.
For possums have no names for each other.
They know by the scent who’s mate and who’s mother.


Moriarty: The Mystery Possum

Moriarty’s the mystery possum; he has a pink-skinned snout —
You’ll never know when he’ll show up or when he’s not about.
He baffles the raccoons and brings the foxes to despair,
For when they do their nightly search, their prey’s no longer there.

He knows when there’s a cricket near or a moth is unattended,
Or when the cat food’s been left out or the fence is poorly mended.
For coons and foxes on the hunt, Siamese or cocker-spaniel fare
Was going to be their evening meal, but it’s no longer there.

Moriarty, Moriarty. There’s no one like Moriarty.
Whatever crime’s discovered, he’s not the guilty party.
You’ll find dinner on his mottled coat or in his fingers pink,
And when you think that you have found some paw prints in your sink,
They’re never his paw prints; you know he couldn’t get inside.
Perhaps he can; perhaps he can’t; perhaps he’s never tried.

Intruder? Prowler? Nighttime stalker….Moriarty’s on the go.
Let his brethren play the possum; that’s not his style of show.
A marsupial mystery to us all, some say he’s like a rat.
Moriarty cares not what they say. He’s watching for the cat.

Gus: The Theatrical Possum

When he is scared, the possum Gus bares his fangs and growls,
But Gus is not a one to fight and secretly fears scowls.
So when you see opossum Gus a’looking mighty tough,
I’d just say, “Hi,” and walk on by. It’s only huff and puff.


The Ad-dressing of Possums

As you’ve learned about possums, they’re not all the same.
When sending one home, will you now know its name?
His tail may be scaly, his fur in a mat,
But this you must know: a possum’s no rat.