Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our Stella(r) Attraction

Stella (the puppy formerly known as Odette/Beatrice/Bailey/Stephanie/Margo), December 2009

This is what TS Eliot had to say about 'The Naming of Cats' (from The Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats):

The Naming of Cats

The naming of cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

...but the naming of puppies is equally hard it seems. Since we collected her from the RSPCA on Tuesday 29 December, this 8 week old brindle girl has had at least 5 different names. (If TS Eliot's theory holds true for dogs as well as cats she can probably hang on to two of those and invent one of her own). It may have bean easier if she, like most of the shelter dogs we looked at already had a name. We had toyed with adopting Jackson or Dennis and pondered at the couplings that produced Oprah and Larissa, but whatever challenges they presented, naming them would not have been one. We think the name 'Stella' has stuck, but watch this space for updates.

Stella's arrival ensures that we will be seeing the New Year in quietly at home, probably with the lovely (prerecorded) Shaun Micallef. We saw his 'Good Evening' recently; I'll comment on that in a separate post. Happy New Year, reader(s).


Senji said...

She is utterly GORGEOUS!!! Congrats on your new non-human companion and friend!

SandyDe said...

What a lovely addition to the family!! Congratulations... and may 2010 bring you heaps of happiness, peace and prosperity.
P.S. I always thought cats were contemplating their collective plot to take over the world!