To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within… that is the question.
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so, by dozing, melt the solid hours
That clogs the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stalls the dinner bell.
To sit; to stare;
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay
Then, when the portals opened, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt.
To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our re-admittance gain: aye, there's the hairball…
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household's petty plagues?
The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That the fur is heir to; when often of his own free will
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten?
Who would spaniels fear?
Or strays; trespassing from a neighbor’s yard?
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to un-guessed miseries.
Thus caution doth make house cats of us all,
And thus, the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.