Once they meet me, they normally stay, even if some won't let me near them... Charlie, for instance, knew his name right away and stops if I call out to him, but will never let me come close, his eyes registering fear and distrust...Yet, he's stayed and found a home here and I can tell he feels safe and is well-fed even if he still is fearful...
So when Mary Schmidt wrote and asked me about reviewing her book, I quickly said, as I always do, that I have no background in poetry...but I quickly said that I loved cats... The book got here quite quickly I must say! And I soon met the Cat Lady of Rome...Note: some of these pictures can be found on Pinterest--Mary Grant's Cats of Rome site...
Mary M. Schmidt
One might find on the streets of Rome
An elder soul who leaves her home,
Leans on her walker, makes her rounds,
Among remains of ancient grounds.
Some say that on these seven peaks
There's no more aged of antiques
Than Old Maria, gray and bent,
The last of her great beauty spent.
The book is beautifully done with just eight lines on each page and readers, like myself, will pause on each, considering the lives of the cat and that of old Maria, who like myself, provides food for cats... Others will read straight through the book, considering the rhyming words, the rhythm to be found, but, truth be told, it is the story that is what captures my attention, of course...
A few will snort and call her geezer,
Friend, they say, to Julius Caesar.
Others turn away and mutter
"Strega," cross themselves, and sputter.
Old Maria's heard it all,
Cat's hear, or care, what names they call.
She has her work to do, that that's
To feed the city's feral cats.
Among these cats, Egyptian Bast,
Whose shining coat is unsurpassed,
Is showing off her kittens fine,
Where she holds court, beneat a pine.
There's Ercole, he's white and bold
Venere, has eyes of gold,
Atena, with her brilliant mind,
To gain more wisdom, is inclined.
Now you may think that this book is all about cats, but that is just not so! You see, The Cat Lady was called into the home of a local Cardinal, Mezzaluna, who also needed her help!
...There'd be one so unorthodox,
Such as myself, to be permitted
To Mezzaluna's suite, admitted.
An old cat lady, bent and humble,
Made this lackey fret and mumble...
...Then said, For me, it is no task,
Your Eminence has but to ask!
...Please tell me what I need to do
To make your passing sweet for you..."
Well, there's lots more to learn about what the Cat Lady was asked to do...but I've given you an extra hint or two in the video above about love...you know, when I read a rhyming poem, it seems, I'm often drawn to rhyme as well! Anyway, this poem is exactly 31-pages long and ends with a mention that invites readers...When in Rome... that a certain gattara (cat lady) may just be able to find someone for you...Who Knew!
But, of course, there is a call for kindness to the feral cat colonies...because the cats are waiting for you there! Visit them at: www.friendsofromancats.org.
I must point out that this long poem is really a very sweet short story that many lovers...of cats or otherwise...will deem to be a perfect little tale that provides an excellent way to escape reality...and even head to Rome for a short visit! Cool, right?!!! Highly recommended...
Mary M. Schmidt
From the Author:
To the average tourist in Rome, Maria may be just
an old lady who feeds the city's stray cats. Yet
things are rarely as they seem. Her powers are
incredible. And to those who truly love, and seek
her assistance, the impossible is only an illusion.