Categories
Poetry

Hats, Cats, Foxes & Rhymes…

Poetry by Rhys Hughes

THE DOERS OF THAT


We very rarely do this
for we are the doers of that,
we are almost impossible to kiss
and we wear incredible hats.

Yes, we are the doers of that,
we tease whoever we please,
we hiss at bees high in the trees
and wheeze at inedible cats.

To be a good doer of that
it helps to swap fleas with things
or flit and flap like a cricket bat
that has suddenly sprouted wings.

Our bicycles are truly organic
with bold noses mostly titanic,
mighty big sneezes plus sea breezes
will trundle us along in a panic.

But rather diffuse are our ears,
they operate best in low gears,
when listening uphill they thrill
to the trill of squirrels drunk on beers.

Soft are the beds we lie on,
their shapes based on dandelions,
slick are the knees that we freeze
in cold teas and biscuity their caps.

For we are the doers of that
and inordinately proud of the fact.
Yes, we are the doers of that,
expressionless and very abstract.


 
TWO DETECTIVE INSPECTORS


The fox said to the owl
“When it came to
choosing a career
most of my options were defective.
I wanted something proactive
so I was very selective
and decided to become a detective
because murder most fowl
sounded very attractive.”

“I too joined the police
for gustatory reasons,” replied the bird,
“and now I do battle against
gangs who shoot, stab and smother.
To be perfectly candid
I am always enthralled
when we catch them red-handed
and the perpetrators rat on each other.”


 
THE RHYME AND THE MIME


The rhyme and the mime were friends
but drove each other
round the bend, taking it in turns.
They never learned!

And in the hay one day
one rolled around until he was far away
and the other was irate:
too late to berate the fate of his mate!

Which was the unfortunate explorer?
Was it the quiet mime
or was it the rhyme with perfect time
twanging in a corner?

Obviously it was the mime, otherwise
logic is endangered
and strangers who range on the plain
will dissolve in rain.

The rhyme and the mime are laughing
with their little faces,
eyes of the mime, sequins bright: those
of the rhyme, lower case.

Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.

PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Review

From Japan to Australia with a Cat

Book Review by Keith Lyons

Title: The Cat with Three Passports

Author: CJ Fentiman

Going to Japan to teach English seemed like a good way to earn money, but animal lover CJ Fentiman came away from living and working in Japan with more than she expected as chronicled by her in The Cat with Three Passports: What a Japanese cat taught me about an old culture and new beginnings.

A book  that could be  considered a travel memoir, but it stretches beyond the normal scope of a travelogue, due partly to the introverted author’s inner reflection and personal transformation, but mainly due to the courageous actions of the writer in turning a soft spot for a cat into an international animal relocation mission. Sorry to spoil the ending of the book, but in most cases, foreigners going to a strange and different country take a “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” approach. So when they leave, it is with fond memories, tales of culture shock and culinary misadventures, and bulging suitcases.

Not so with Fentiman and her partner, Ryan, who faced new challenges while taking a homeless cat with them to Australia, some 8,000 kilometres away. So why would you rescue from the streets a bedraggled silver tabby and then contemplate taking it with you across the oceans? If you are a cat lover, you already know the answer.

Let’s back up. One of the reasons The Cat with Three Passports is such a good read is that from the outset, the reader is invited in to experience Japan as seen through the eyes of someone right off the plane after a long flight. Throughout the book, there are vivid descriptions of landscapes, encounters and events, including weird festivals (naked men) which give an insight into an unfamiliar culture.

If the anticipation isn’t enough, the author exposes her vulnerability by sharing her anxieties and self-doubts, along with her past patterns of escaping situations and places, and how she has been distant from her estranged family.

Cats feature literally and figuratively throughout the book, and the author has blended in feline-related sayings and some of Japan’s cat wisdom. In a way, the cats make CJ and Ryan more “at home” in Japan among the cherry blossoms, bullet trains and vending machines. Essentially, the cats they encounter are the facilitators of the adaption and softening, helping them discover their purpose and giving them fulfilment.

Things take a turn for the surreal when they transfer to a job at a school set in a British theme park high in the mountains. Their time in Japan is not complete without a visit to the famed Cat Island, where cats outnumber humans perhaps thirty five to one. In the same way that cats love warmth and sun, humans are also attracted to cats because they bestow blessings on homo sapiens. One study found that cat owners have better psychological health than people without pets. Cat feeders claim to feel happier, more confident, less nervous and to sleep, focus and face problems better in their lives.

The Cat with Three Passports will appeal to anyone who has or wants to visit Japan, any animal lover or ailurophile along with readers who enjoy travel memoirs. It is a heart-warming and touching tale of outer and inner discovery.

If you’ve already encountered some travel classics on Japan, such as Lost Japan by Alex Kerr, Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson, or Pico Iyer’s recent A Beginners Guide to Japan, consider reading The Cat with Three Passports even if you aren’t a pet lover or Japan fan.

Keith Lyons (keithlyons.net) is an award-winning writer, author and creative writing mentor, who gave up learning to play bagpipes in a Scottish pipe band to focus on after-dark tabs of dark chocolate, early morning slow-lane swimming, and the perfect cup of masala chai tea. Find him@KeithLyonsNZ or blogging at Wandering in the World (http://wanderingintheworld.com).

.

Click here to read the book excerpt.

Click here to read CJ Fentiman’s interview.

.

PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Humour Poetry

Carnival of Animals

By Rhys Hughes

 Silky Salathiel

Silky Salathiel was a travelling cat

with the taste of the Orient on the tip of his tongue.

He wandered the streets of Mandalay

enticed by the scents of ginger and lime,

where the oldest songs are sung

in the Rub-Al-Khali

he scratched at the rugs in Bedouin tents.

.

I knew him well when I was young.

We sailed the Brahmaputra in an old sea-chest,

lived in a basket in Kathmandu,

climbed the mountains of the Hindu Kush,

bathed in fountains of milk in Xanadu,

and I was the friend whom he loved best;

the oldest fish in the Caspian Sea.

.

But of course I lived longer than him

(now he is gone memories are all that remain).

He was not just a cat but a travelling cat

who danced flamenco in the castles of Spain,

licked the cheese in shady Provence

and drunk the ale in the snowy Ukraine.

Silky Salathiel the travelling cat

with the taste of the East on the tip of his tongue

and the taste of the West

on the tip of

his tail.


THE CASANOVA KANGAROO

The Casanova Kangaroo
    is a bounder
       but he’s no cad
    or utter rotter
(and if he was an otter
    he wouldn’t be
fishy either). He’s not a
        womaniser
who disguises his desire
as charm. In fact
the only thing he has in
      common with
the original Casanova is
that they both wrote
      their memoirs.

       Chapter One,
‘My Early Life in a Pouch’


PANDEMONIUM

Pandemonium is
not a state of disorder
but a state ruled
by pandas. They
will try to bamboozle
you with booze
made from bamboo
shoots and seduce
you with the music
of bamboo flutes.

The capital of the state
of Pandemonium
is called Nebulosity
City but I don’t know
why. No one actually
lives there. Pandas
prefer the countryside.

.

Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.

.

PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL.