Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Stray (Conflation)

There was snow on the
ground when they appeared
for the first time: four feral
cats playing in the empty
lot behind the fence.
Could not let them starve,
so started putting a bit food
out each day. By summer,
three had moved on, and
only one remained: a
scrawny  tri-color female
nick-named Ragamuffin
who finagled her way
into our house and life.

Each day when I arrive
at work I find him in
his usual spot-- on the
sofa near the lobby
where he can observe
all who come and go.
At 94, mobility is limited
to use of a walker, but
his mind is still sharp.
He is a “fixture” in this
nursing home, an enigma
of sorts; attracting friends
just by nodding hello to
all who pass--residents,
employees and visitors alike.

Amazing how the little
strays captured our heart
to become family.

©  Ginny Brannan November 2011

*Recently at d’Verse Poets Pub, emmet wheatfall hosted a Meeting the Bar entitled Conflation. It means “To bring together: meld or fuse; to combine (two variant texts, for example) into one whole. I found this intriguing and thought I would give it a shot, though I did not get done in time to post on that day. The Challenge: Write a poem that is constructed using conflation. This means the poem must possess at least two different, wholly unrelated themes package together.
Not sure if this works, but this was my composition for the topic.   
Dedicated to my favorite resident Kenny, who passed away on 10/28/11. Fondly remembered.
Sharing at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night #18, 11/15/11 


  1. You sound like a very caring person! This is very moving.

  2. The shift here was almost imperceptible--excellent job on accomplishing the conflation aspect, and also an excellent and moving poem. As I age, I also feel the untangling of ties and capabilities,to that point where one might become just another stray, depending on others' kindness and humanity.

  3. A wonderful write and you have to know the cat liked the feeding of his feline mates..haha

  4. worked conflation well...the strays tugged at me as we have 2 cats..both strays that we made a home the shift to the man in the home as well...a touching write...

  5. Love the poetry form... the first part about the stray cat was touching. The second part is cleverly added, a "fixture" but still fondly remembered by you. Nice one ~

  6. What you say below "post a comment" sounds much like me :) I love your blog and im happy to have found you through dverse, Ginny. Nice stuff here, soft and real. Im a fan!

  7. I'm no expert on the "rules" of Conflation (I'm sure it deserves capitalization), but I know when words become images. Coupled together with heart and talent they make a whole poem. Yours tells two stories successfully wound around the same theme. And it moved me and made me smile. Very nice piece, Ginny!

  8. Dear Ginny

    Its great... and the story though unrelated gelled with each other so well.. says a lot about the writer... lovely.

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya

  9. I loved both parts of your conflation, and after a moment of surprise saw an internal logic.

  10. Strays and straying minds, healing and nursing all woven so subtly into your poem that there was no clash, the transition smooth, seamless - always caring. Well done.

  11. Thanks so much to everyone who was kind enough to comment and share their opinions:-)
    I really wasn't sure if this would be a true to form in part because half of it is supposed to reveal something about yourself. My "revelation"-- that I'm a pushover for cats! No big dark secrets in this. The fact that it is two separate stories is true, one about animals, and one about a person known through my work at a nursing home. Perhaps some of the similarity comes from the 'voice' and tone written in, which is the same. When I wrote, was hoping the ambiguity of the last verse with the word "stray" could reflect either story, depending on perspective, and kind of tie it all together.
    Appreciate all the kind words, thanks again.

  12. the conflation is actually seamless here. Excellent job in choosing and crafting the two Narratives so they relate to one another in the grander scheme. 'finagled' is a wonderful word too. I never heard it before; thanks for a new one!




Thank you for reading my poetry and sharing your thoughts.