Here are several versions of the Pangur Ban poem that inspired her name. The original was written by an anonymous Irish monk in the 9th century, and many poets have translated it. The monk compares his work of writing with Pangur's work of catching mice.
Here is Robin Flower's translation, the first one I heard and fell in love with when I was a child. It begins:
I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.
Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.
Click through to read the rest here.
While that one will always be the definitive version to me, I really love Seamus Heaney's translation, too. Here are some later stanzas from that one:
With his unsheathed, perfect nails
Pangur springs, exults and kills.
When the longed-for, difficult
Answers come, I too exult.
So it goes. To each his own.
No vying. No vexation.
Taking pleasure, taking pains,
Kindred spirits, veterans.
You can read the rest of it here.
And here's Leontyne Price singing Auden's translation, set to music by Samuel Barber.
Our experience with cats is pretty much confined to reading about them, so we have a lot to learn about Pangur Ban the real cat. And we'll start learning just as soon as she comes out from behind the books.
Miss Rumphius is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today here. Head on over to see what everyone else has posted!