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This poem is taken from PN Review 90, Volume 19 Number 4, March - April 1993.

The King of the Cats John Heath-Stubbs

When Yeats first heard that Swinburne was dead
"Now I am the king of the cats!" he said.
I know the story to which he referred -
A tale perhaps you've already heard.
There are several versions - I'll tell you one
That I remember. I think it's quite fun.

Through hours of darkness a traveller strode
Along a weary and difficult road.
Black clouds had veiled the moon's clear light
As he walked on through a stormy night.
A fierce wind blustered, rain pelted down -
He'd miles to go till he reached the town,
But there he knew that, in the end,
He would find the hospitable house of a friend,
Warmth, good food, and a well-aired bed,
And a down-stuffed pillow for his head.
Then all of a sudden, a lightning flash -

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