They say that Dapple-grey’s
not yours, but don’t you wish he were?
My horse’s coat is only paint, but his is soft grey hair;
His face is big and kind, like yours, his forelock white as snow—
Shan’t you be sorry when you’ve done his shoes and he must go?
I do so wish, Big Smith, that
I might come and live with you;
To rake the fire, to heat the rods, to hammer two and two.
To be so black, and not to have to wash unless I choose;
To pat the dear old horses, and to mend their poor old shoes.
When all the world is dark
at night, you work among the stars,
A shining shower of fireworks beat out of red-hot bars.
I’ve seen you beat, I’ve heard you sing, when I was going to bed;
And now your face and arms looked black, and now were glowing red.
The more you work, the more
you sing, the more the bellows roar;
The falling stars, the flying sparks, stream shining more and more.
You hit so hard, you look so hot, and yet you never tire;
It must be very nice to be allowed to play with fire.
I long to beat and sing and
shine, as you do, but instead
I put away my horse, and Nurse puts me away to bed.
I wonder if you go to bed; I often think I’ll keep
Awake and see, but, though I try, I always fall asleep.
I know it’s very silly,
but I sometimes am afraid
Of being in the dark alone, especially in bed.
But when I see your forge-light come and go upon the wall,
And hear you through the window, I am not afraid at all.
I often hear a trotting horse,
I sometimes hear it stop;
I hold my breath—you stay your song—it’s at the blacksmith’s shop.
Before it goes, I’m apt to fall asleep, Big Smith, it’s true;
But then I dream of hammering that horse’s shoes with you!
They’ve taken the cosy
That I made myself with the Shetland shawl,
And set me a hamper of scratchy hay,
By that great black stove in the entrance-hall.
I won’t sleep there;
I’m resolved on that!
They may think I will, but they little know
There’s a soft persistence about a cat
That even a little kitten can show.
I wish I knew what to do but
And spit at the dogs and refuse my tea;
My fur’s feeling rough, and I rather doubt
Whether stolen sausage agrees with me.
On the drawing-room sofa they’ve
closed the door,
They’ve turned me out of the easy-chairs;
I wonder it never struck me before
That they make their beds for themselves up-stairs.
* * * * *
I’ve found a crib where
they won’t find me,
Though they’re crying “Kitty!” all over the house.
Hunt for the Slipper! and riddle-my-ree!
A cat can keep as still as a mouse.