You’d think it was otherwise
the way their nose sticks out on the humans
as if to indicate, that this organ was truly important…
like my ears that point straight up
at the sun and the stars above
if you were religious… you might say ‘at god’…
though we cats don’t take part in organized religion

we don’t get together in groups
on the holy Sabbath, or any other day
to sing to the almighty…
in praise and collective awe
no… we save our best songs
for courtship and sex
that’s the way we are,
simple creatures, we cats

but our ears hear everything
the song of the morning
and the song of midnight
what whispers in the nearby leaves
or in the distance far off…
we hear it all,
the rejoicing and he who grieves

and with our noses
we analyze and learn…
the age and the history of everything
the personality and purpose of things
inanimate objects
and bodies living or dead
items almost living…
and subjects almost dead
what may be food…
and that which cries out dread.

but those monkeys, you know…
always so needy…
and constantly greedy
in their endless pride
and their never ending show
don’t worry so much
about where things might go…

they don’t have that long and careful gaze
they don’t smell the path, along the way
they don’t watch the way the breezes blow
before they pounce upon their prey

and so I’ve said it to them, again and again
a message told to monkeys and men:
god didn’t give us noses
just to smell the roses



38 responses to “noses

  1. This is just lovely! Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Delightful Shimon and the last photo is lovely.

  3. I’m thinking about much we humans don’t use our senses. For instance, smell, we note when the pleasant or the foul passes by, but we don’t smell to wonder, learn, and apply. I think of food – which we eat to fill without taking time to see, smell, and taste. The same with wine, thus causing us to miss many joys. Maybe this is another example of our brains getting in the way. ….. and I love the ways cats adjust their ears for hearing. Well done Shimon!

    • Thank you very much, Frank. And yes, we have a lot to learn from the living creatures around us. And though it’s good to think, it’s a shame when the thinking gets in the way of the sensual experience.

  4. As usual, Shimon, your poetry and apt pictures illustrate so beautifully “the human picture.” I think your cat is blessed to live with such a sensitive and observant person.

    • In Hebrew we say, ‘every pot has its cover’, and so I think my cat is right for me in the same way as I’m right for her. Thank you very much for your kind words, Ruth.

  5. Thank you for this lovely prayer, Shimon!

  6. You must have been a cat in a previous life, because you seem to know both humans and cats from the inside out. Lovely poem, Shimon,and the last photo in particular is extremely artistic. To me, it almost seems as if your cat is taking in a world of information through its nose, where we can only see shadow. Dare I press the ‘like’ button? Sorry, gotta do it! If I could, I would press the ‘love’ button!

    • How sweet of you, Naomi… and you’re making me regret I ever said anything against the ‘likes’. And yes, I do feel I’ve learned a lot from the many cat friends I’ve had. Thank you so much for your comment and your ‘like’.

  7. 🙂 I wish I could hear your voice speaking these words. But I do have a close approximation, I’m sure, in my mind’s ear.

  8. This is wonderful poem, especially the last part fascinated me. I love your cat’s photographs… they are talking… Thank you dear Shimon, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • So good to know you enjoyed the poem, Nia. For we both have similar feelings towards our cats, and you’re a really fine cat photographer yourself. Thank you very much, and my best wishes to you.

  9. when i teach poetry lessons, i tell kids that people do not write poems. poems write themselves through a person. a person does something, sees something, feels something, has some kind of a sensory experience or moment of thought or cognition. an idea strikes that person, who then puts it down on paper. a moment then writes itself through a person who wants to share that moment with others in a creative way, in a way that not everyone can see.

    i said all that to ask you, what happened at the moment when that poem chose you through which to write itself? what did you see, hear, feel, think about, etc.

    • I enjoy hearing your thoughts, Rich. And especially your particular way of teaching. I like the image of the poem writing itself… it reminds me a bit of the idea that man created god. But to me, a poem is as much a characteristic of its author, as the twinkle in a person’s eye. All the same, I’m not avoiding your excellent question. This came to me as a thought… and then I tried to make it as light as possible… in a language that is not really my own… I considered the two images I presented, part of the statement. Always very good, hearing from you.

  10. Needy and greedy … I am guilty of that as well … working on not to be that way …. we are funny little people with funny little lives, aren’t we … I thank you for being in my funny little life, Shimon, more than you’ll ever know …Love, cat.

  11. You’ve been nominated by me for the Versatile Blogger’s award. Which also means you won! Check it out — !

    • Thank you very much, Marilyn, for the gesture. I appreciate your intention. But as I’ve mentioned on my ‘about’ page, I do not accept awards. For me, the only reward I seek, is that people read and enjoy my words.

  12. I enjoyed your words very much, as there is much to learn from our animal friends. I have to ask though, what is the name of the old, broken 33 record next to Nechama?

  13. A great ending! But it is nice to smell roses too 🙂

  14. This is one of the most fun and beautiful poetry i have read in recent times…its true, Cats are not called diva for nothing. They accomplish so much with just their noses,oh something we humans should learn
    Such a beautiful poetry 🙂

  15. I missed this one. I am afraid I fail to use my nose although it is big enough to serve me well. The juxtaposition is as clearly drawn as Nechama and her shadow self. Has your poetry been published in English? Or your photographs?

    • Glad you did find this, George. When I was young, I used to read these stories of man making contact with aliens from far away stars… and I couldn’t help but wonder why we thought we’d have more luck in communication than we had with other living creatures sharing our own planet.

  16. I seem to spend lots and lots of time reading here:)
    Thank you so much for inspiration, lovely pictures and beautiful texts. Best wishes:)

    • I’m so glad you find interest in these posts… after all, it’s a matter of taste, but it is a great pleasure to share. Thank you so much, colour.

  17. Hello
    I just read this text (with a translator) but I understood the general meaning.
    It is a nice text and you are also a beautiful writer.
    It is true that cats listen to their senses and humans could take example on them.

    • I thought you might be able to enjoy this one Caroline, But I know how difficult it is to read something that has been translated by a machine. Even when translated by a human being, it is never the same. Thank you so much for coming by and for your interest.

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