The Cat And The Moon - Poem Annotation

An annotation of Yeats' The Cat And The Moon.

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  • Created on: 14-05-12 10:05
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The Cat and the Moon
This poem was published in 1919. Minnaloushe, the cat mentioned in the poem, is the Gonne's cat. As
a result, many have interpreted it as a depiction of Yeats and Maud's relationship: two beings circling
each other in an endless dance. For further analysis of this concept, this link to `A Terrible Beauty Is
Born' ­ a Yeats revision site, may be useful. However, the moon never really changes ­ it only
appears different. Might Minnaloushe/Yeats believe he is changing the moon/Maud, but it only really
appears altered?
Alternative interpretations include the link to Yeats' consideration of the `yolk and the egg' parable ­
the idea of two beings, forever linked. Compare this to Among Schoolchildren.
This poem is about a dance and the structure reflects this: it moves very rhythmically and repetitively,
reflected by the simple use of rhyme scheme that makes it sound like a song. Assonance and
alliteration (examples marked in purple) also create the soft, sweeping tone of this poem. The
rhyme scheme also contributes to the idea of change ­ it is a constantly changing, irregular rhyme
scheme, waxing and waning much like the cycles of the moon.
Themes include love, the beauty of ireland, mythology & the occult.
An attempt of Yeats A The cat went here and there LINK: `Among
to convey his B And the moon spun round like a top, Schoolchildren': the
closeness to Maud? C And the nearest kin of the moon yolk and the egg
Yeats had a B The creeping cat, looked up parable, two
fascinatino with the D Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon, movements
occult, seeing it as E For wander and wail as he would, unsynchronised.
part of his Irish F The pure cold light in the sky Furthermore, `spun
heritage: this is E Troubled his animal blood. round like a top'
present in this poem. G Minnaloushe runs in the grass suggests that their
Yeats thinks Maud H Lifting his delicate feet. relationship is
may learn that they I Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance? changing ­ but not in
are right for each H When two close kindred meet, the way Yeats wants
other? I What better than call a dance? it to, if we interpret
J Maybe the moon may learn, this to be about
This poem links into K Tired of that courtly fashion, Maud.
Yeats' fascination J A new dance turn. Admiration?
with the gyre: G Minnaloushe creeps through the grass He feels almost
changing and L From moonlit place to place, tormented by Maud ­
diminishing, the idea M The sacred moon overhead if we interpret the
that history repeats L Has taken a new phase. moon as Maud?
itself. N Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils Double meaning of
LINK: The Man and O Will pass from change to change, the word `pupils' ­
the Echo: the man P And that from round to crescent students?Words
never gets anything O From crescent to round they range? such as `creeping'
from the echo, Q Minnaloushe creeps through the grass convey a story-like,
similar to the cat and R Alone, important and wise, gothic feel to the
the moon in this S And lifts to the changing moon poem. Once again: is
poem: each circling R His changing eyes. the moon really
each other but never changing? Or is it just
gaining. Minnaloushe's
perception? (his
eyes?)

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