T. S. Eliot: Of the Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles

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Thomas Stearns Eliot:
Of the Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles
from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”

TOGETHER WITH SOME ACCOUNT

OF THE PARTICIPATION

OF THE PUGS AND THE POMS, AND THE

INTERVENTION OF THE GREAT RUMPUSCAT

The Pekes and the Pollicles, everyone knows,
Are proud and implacable passionate foes;
It is always the same, wherever one goes.
And the Pugs and the Poms, although most people say
That they do not like fighting, will often display
Every symptom of wanting to join in the fray.
And they
Bark bark bark bark
Bark bark BARK BARK
Until you can hear them all over the Park.

Now on the occasion of which I shall speak
Almost nothing had happened for nearly a week
(And that’s a long time for a Pol or a Peke).
The big Police Dog was away from his beat -
I don’t know the reason, but most people think
He’d slipped into the Bricklayer’s Arms for a drink -
And no one at all was about on the street
When a Peke and a Pollicle happened to meet.
They did not advance, or exactly retreat,
But they glared at each other and scraped their hind feet,
And started to
Bark bark bark bark
Bark bark BARK BARK
Until you could hear them all over the Park.

Now the Peke, although people may say what they please,
Is no British Dog, but a Heathen Chinese.
And so all the Pekes, when they heard the uproar,
Some came to the window, some came to the door;
There were surely a doyen, more likely a score.
And together they started to grumble and wheeye
In their huffery-snuffery Heathen Chinese.
But a terrible din is what Pollicles like,
for your Pollicle Dog is a dour Yorkshire tyke,
And his braw Scottish cousins are snappers and biters,
And every dog-jack of them notable fighters;
And so they stepped out, with their pipers in order,
Playing When the Blue Bonnets Came Over the Border.
Then the Pugs and the Poms held no longer aloof,
But some from the balcony, some from the roof,
Joined in
To the din
With a
Bark bark bark bark
Bark bark BARK BARK
Until you could hear them all over the Park.

Now when these bold heroes together assembled,
The traffic all stopped, and the Underground trembled,
And some of the neighbours were so much afraid
That they started to ring up the Fire Brigade.
When suddenly, up from a small basement flat,
Why who should stalk out but the GREAT RUMPUSCAT.
His eyes were like fireballs fearfully blazing,
He gave a great yawn, and his jaws were amazing;
And when he looked out through the bars of the area,
You never saw anything fiercer or hairier.
And what with the glare of his eyes and his yawning,
The Pekes and the Pollicles quickly took warning.
He looked at the sky and he gave a great leap -
And they every last one of them scattered like sheep.

And when the Police Dog returned to his beat,
There wasn’t a single one left in the street.

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