Cats and Sphinxes

Cats and Sphinxes

There was a cheesy line in some movie I was watching a few weeks ago that I wanted to jot down to remember:

“But Honey, you promised to take me to Egypt to see the giant sphinxster!”

I was also thinking about how much I miss having a cat. It’s been a long time, but I told myself since I’d be moving on from here that I shouldn’t complicate things any more than I have to. Now, today, I turn around and find cats and sphinxes in the same poem!

The wise men love the cats for their perversity;
They love them passionately for their sensual seasons;
Sweet subtle cats, so traitorous in their treasons
That, as they, shiver in their dire adversity.

Lovers of strange science, and of sensuality,
They seek the intense horror that makes them furious;
They had been seized as his ghastly slaves by Erebus,
Had they inclined to him their sombre savagery.

They assume in dreaming the ancient attitudes
Of the great Sphinxes in the depths of their solitudes
That seem always to sleep in their virginity;
Their pregnant reins are full of Signs of Magic,
Strange sparks of gold, like fine dust, magically
Shine like stars in their regards, tenebrous, tragic.

Baudelaire, “The Cats,” from Les Fleurs de Mal

Maybe it’s the glint of constant curiosity, meted out with disdain. Cats always seem so wise. But they can also be little sphincters, slaves of Erebus, the personification of darkness. Maybe it’s me, but they often seem to be dreaming, lost in their own world. Maybe that’s why I admire them so much.