Reading to the Cat in Advent

Original Artwork by Vera Dimoplon

Story taking place in time – place being peace

a small room book-lined, a blue chair

grey cat upside down beside you pretending sleep, listening

as if knowing what the story is about in its own version –

a happiness of words taut with attentiveness –

the story tightens:  in the middle of the farmyard

fully visible in the moon’s glow housecat is out and about

oh! something muscular lurks in the shadows

hint of reddish fur, bushy tail, waiting –

Time for white-whiskered Tomten to appear in slouchy red hat

little footprints invisible to all but the animals awaiting

his presence – the little fellow circles the farmyard

in stillness of frosty cold, moon and starlight, cat safe

alongside, making the nightly vigilant round, checking on

hens on their roosts in the poultry house, horse in the stable

sow and sheep in their shelters, cow on clean straw in the barn –

to each in its place he brings quietude

children deep in their featherbeds in the farmhouse

bowl of porridge for Tomten placed outside the kitchen door –

Grey cat beside you now fully asleep breathes lightly

all the way to the end of a story writ at the heart of creation

and breathed across a world visible to animals and children

a world we do not see

but may briefly glimpse through velvety darkness

if our hearts are made ready by a simplicity such as theirs

quiet and simple as footsteps falling in snow –

a world where every creature waits in place

taking part once more in Advent’s providential pageant

of celestial peace unfolding across the planet.

By Margie Dimoplon

Author’s Note: The Tomten is an ancient figure in Scandinavian

folklore who watches over the farm. In more recent depictions he

is an elfish character, visible only to animals and children and

associated with Christmas season. In gratitude the family leaves

him a bowl of porridge Christmas night.

One response to “Reading to the Cat in Advent”

  1. What a delightful poem sharing the Scandinavian fable of farmyard animals before Christmas. The artwork depicts the imaginary Tomten so well! These talents shine.

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