Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent, velvet footed

There had to be cats, there always are

In silence, I contemplate the presence of cats at the Nativity.  There had to be cats, still small voices of calm.

And, quite possibly,  there were fleas, too. 🙂

(Sister Letitia)
Tune: Once In Royal David’s City

Come you cats of every colour
Kittens, too, of every size
See, the Lord who made the tiger
Lowly in a manger lies.
Praise him all his little tigers
Let your joyful purring rise.

Siamese and stately Persian
Homely black and Tabby gay,
Leave your cushions, leave your roof tops
Call a truce with mice today.
Swift and silent, velvet footed
Hasten now down Bethlehem way.

See, he smiles to see you coming
Mary welcomes you within.
Joseph with a friendly finger
Gently strokes your furry chin.
Ox and ass are there beside you
Sheep and camel peering in.
All creation sings his praises
Voices, music, sharps and flats
Join the chorus, cats and kittens
Praise him, just by being cats.



61 thoughts on “Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent, velvet footed

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I love the way the Nativity opens itself to so many interpretations. It’s a spiritual story but a human one, too, which means it is much easier to make it our very own, with cats or whatever we love most.

  1. KerryCan

    Perfect! As a cat lover, this just made me so happy–the darling baby in the photo, the carol, all of it. I have this image of a small cat curled up next to the baby in the manger . . . .

  2. Su Leslie

    The kitten in your photo is so gorgeous. T and I had our first serious “maybe it’s time to get another cat” talk recently and now my heart-strings are fit to snap.
    I love the idea of a carol for cats 😀

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The little kitty is in a photo taken by my friend David Dobbs who is a photographer. And the photo is actually a jigsaw which came fully assembled. I loved it so much, I couldn’t bear to disassemble yet. So I propped it on my table, added some flowers and just fell in love with it and the tableau. I am eager to know the outcome of your talk. 🙂

      1. Su Leslie

        😀 like most of our discussions it ended in no decision. T has two modes — getting ready to travel for work, and recovering from travel. Things tend to get done because I take the initiative, but on this one I’m unsure. I’m still harbouring dreams of moving out of Auckland and my mind is saying “new home, new cat.”

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Ah, it’s a hard one, and I can understand how preparing for travel and recovering from travel leave very little head and heart space for other things.

        2. Su Leslie

          When T isn’t travelling, he works from home — so it’s a case of all or nothing!!
          It was more difficult when our son was younger. We always seemed to have appliance failures, water leaks, car trouble or visits to A&E when T was on the other side of the world. Now I quite like the solitude (and control of the TV remote), but do find the slow decision-making frustrating.

  3. insearchofitall

    That is the cutest kitten! I’m sure there must have been cats way back as if I remember correctly, they have been drawn on walls in ancient times. They needed mouses forever. What a sweet song. I don’t sing either. They pay me not to sing. 😉

  4. shoreacres

    At first, I thought you’d been blessed with a real kitty. The words of the carol are delightful, but I had to look up the tune. Even after listening, it didn’t seem familiar. Perhaps it’s considered more difficult musically for caroling groups and congregational singing, and gets less exposure because of it.

    I pondered whether to re-publish Dixie Rose’s cat carols this year, but thinking about it made me sad, so I decided not to. It did make me smile to know that someone else has created a cat carol. Since cats and barns are natural companions, I suspect it’s entirely likely a cat was present: more likely than a camel, for sure.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      No, no real kitty here, sadly. because of my allergies. My neighbour has a cat though ( a desexed male) who receives cat visitors throughout the day. There are always cats going up and down our shared driveway to visit Humphrey, so I get my cat fix from a distance. They make me smile. As for the carol; Once in Royal David’s City was a very popular carol in my childhood. We sang it with gusto. And it wasn’t a proper Christmas if we hadn’t sung that particular carol.
      Perhaps this year, all you will manage is a little carol to Dixie Rose in your heart. The carols will return when it is time.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Like servants to royalty? 🙂 I saw many cats in our neighborhood in Cairo. They weren’t always in good condition but I didn’t ever see anyone being deliberately unkind to them. And food was offered to them.

  5. Pingback: Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent, velvet footed – LIVING THE DREAM

  6. Steve Schwartzman

    I clicked your link “still small voices of calm”, and by following up on what was there I found myself at American poet John Greenleaf Whittier’s “The Brewing of Soma”:

    Of the 17 stanzas, one that caught my attention was:

    As in that child-world’s early year,
    Each after age has striven
    By music, incense, vigils drear,
    And trance, to bring the skies more near,
    Or lift men up to heaven!

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      i find the entire poem intriguing and I think it’s quite extraordinary to have a very popular hymn with its origins in drug taking ( that is taking a simplistic view of course). The verse which caught your attention makes me think of Marx’s words about religion and opium. Interestingly, for much of my life, the first verse of the hymn is one I have sung to calm myself because I find it has a hypnotic, trance-like quality when sung over and over again.

  7. thecontentedcrafter

    You do have a knack for putting the pretty things together. And that little cat is just adorable. And oh yes, of course there were cats! How could there not be. That’s a lovely version of the carol – I have never come across that, thank you for the introduction. When Siddy first arrived I became so aware of the calm presence of Orlando – his inner quiet was a balm when the puppy was bouncing wildly around the place in those first two years.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I couldn’t find out anything more about the carol ( Google failed me this time!), and, because I have no musical talent, ( I can out caterwaul a cat), I couldn’t even work out how to sing it to Once in Royal David’s City. But that little kitty is so sweet and still and reminded me of the aura of calm which is carried by cats everywhere. Orlando has that aura in bucketfuls.

      1. thecontentedcrafter

        Oh no! I could sing it beautifully in my head – it’s just that what comes out my mouth is less enjoyable. Do you suppose its a New Zealand thing being tone deaf? Or the result of a decidedly unmusical childhood?

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Well done, you! I think it’s a lot to do with being disparaged at school about one’s singing abilities. Although I can’t sing tunefully, I sang to my children a lot and they both received excellent and encouraging musical education at school. As a result they are both musical. I think most of us have music within us but it is easily damaged.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, such a sweetie. The photo behind my cup of flowers was taken by my friend, (and photographer) David Dobbs. I think the little kitten belonged to David and his family. I have several of his photos around the house but that is one of my favourites.


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