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Cat's Eye


The same year that Bruno burned,
German shoemaker Jakob Boehme perceived
in a glint of sunlight reflected
from a pewter water jug, the answer
to the problem of evil:
God, like Jung, would rather
be whole than good.

I've seen that same glint
in the eyes of my cat, whose gaze
interrogates the world with two
contradictory urges:
          can I kill it?
          can I sleep on it?
There you have it, the wholeness of Cat,
coincidence of comfort and wrath.

No wonder zealous witch-burners
used cats for kindling to spark
the thousands of bonfires that only confirmed
how goodness blazes brightest
in the grip of darkest night.

Though he was censored and condemned
from the pulpit, though his children
were bullied and his livelihood threatened,
Boehme, at least, had no fiery death.

Instead, he met glory at the feet
of his neighbours, offering a simple
glass of water, as he bent
to stitch their torn soles.


Julie Roorda

The Malahat Review

Spring 2017


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