Katherine Mansfield, ‘Friendship’


When we were charming Backfisch*
With curls and velvet bows
We shared a charming kitten
With tiny velvet toes.

It was so gay and playful;
It flew like a woolly ball
From my lap to your shoulder
And, oh, it was so small,

So warm – and so obedient
If we cried: ‘That’s enough!’
It lay and slept between us,
A purring ball of fluff.

But now that I am thirty
And she is thirty one,
I shudder to discover
How wild our cat has run.

It’s bigger than a Tiger,
Its eyes are jets of flame,
Its claws are gleaming daggers,
Could it once have been tame?

Take it away, I’m frightened!
But she, with placid brow,
Cries: ‘This is our Kitty-witty!
Why don’t you love her now?’

*Backfisch: teenagers


Katherine Mansfield (1888 – 1923) was an important Modernist writer best known for her short fiction.  She was bisexual and had sexual relationships with men and women during her life.

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