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      On the Ancestry of Housecats

      "Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
      In the forests of the night,
      What immortal hand or eye
      Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"
      --William Blake
      Her lineage considered, my little cat
      Is no great murderess.

      Domesticated and surburbanized,
      She sups on Tender Vittles from a dish,
      Sleeps a lot in sunny spots,
      And purrs.

      And yet,
      Whoever dared to frame this little beast
      Included in the plan
      Both fang and claw,
      The muscled haunch, the lashing tail,
      And eyes --
      Oriental yellow fire,
      Unflinching
      And implacable.

      And so I watch,
      Queasy and appalled,
      Each time this kitty calmly dines

      On chipmunk sushi.

      -- Warren F. O'Rourke, 1991