The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Cat Couldn't Help It

cat couldn't help it

there was something
so confoundedly dangerous
that she simply
could not stop or
break or interrupt her
green-eyed gaze—

she sat
fully sun-cuddled
on guard
in that particular
bookshop window

cat couldn't help it

nothing moved
not a hair on her head
not a whisker
or a paw ear tail or nose
nothing at all
except a thousand and one
crescent-eyed gleams
darting straight through the

hours passed
a long string of hours—

at last the sun yawned and
clawing in what was left of the day
stretched a solitary
sleep-dusted orange before
curling tight into twilight

cat couldn't help it

she circled her head
snapped her eyes night-wide
and lifting a paw coolly
licked off the day
in a single
flick of pink

settling back down into the
soft purr of evening—
with a sweep of
ginger-puffed rolls and
whisper-soft arches
cat adjusted every bit
of herself till she was
fully moon-cuddled

and only then
did she continue her
green-eyed gaze
this time pin-prick
narrowing in on some
worrying dark shadows

cat couldn't help it

after all
cat was cat
insisting on protecting
day and night
every single book
in that particular
bookshop window

About the Writer

Zaro Weil

Zaro has been a lot of things: dancer, theatre director, actress, poet, playwright, educator, quilt collector and historian, author, publisher and a few others. She has been collecting American quilts for more than twenty years and has exhibited her collection variously in London galleries. She has written on quilts for Vogue, Elle Decoration, Traditional Homes and Interiors as well as numerous newspapers. Her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies. She has written several books including a book of children’s poetry, Mud, Moon and Me (Orchard Books, UK and Houghton Mifflin, USA), Firecrackers (Troika) illustrated by Jo Riddell and Cherry Moon (2020 CLiPPA Award Winner).