Jellicle Cat

Recently Cay overheard me asking Jinx if she were a "Jellicle cat".

"What's a Jellicle cat?" she asked.

I was a little surprised that she'd never seen Cats.

I was even more suprised when I looked up Cats and found it was based on a book of poetry published in 1939 by T.S. Eliot.

Now I'm not a big T.S. Eliot fan, and I had no clue that there was even a poem called "The Song of the Jellicles", much less that there was an inspiration for the musical Cats beyond the imagination sparked by cats themselves.

The Song of the Jellicales, by T.S. Elliot, begins:

Jellicle Cats come out to-night
Jellicle Cats come one come all:
The Jellicle Moon is shining bright -
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.

and continues on to describe the characteristics of Jellicle cats.

The list of characteristics is nowhere near as expansive as the 6+ minute opening song of Cats:



Recently, I heard a line from a comic somewhere (and I can't remember where, I'm guessing that it was Stephen Colbert.  If you know, please comment!) asking "Isn't EVERY cat a Jellicle cat?"

The way the musical portrays Jellicle cats, yes.  The way T.S. Elliot portrays them?  no.

Jinx, however, IS a T.S. Elliot style Jellicle cat:

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats are rather small;
Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
They like to practise their airs and graces
And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.

Jellicle Cats develop slowly,
Jellicle Cats are not too big;
Jellicle Cats are roly-poly,
They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.
Until the Jellicle Moon appears
They make their toilette and take their repose:
Jellicle Cats wash behind their ears,
Jellicle dry between their toes.

Jellicle Cats are white and black,
Jellicle Cats are of moderate size;
Jellicle Cats jump like a jumping-jack,
Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.
They're quitet enough in the morning hours,
They're quitet enough in the afternoon,
Reserving their terpsichorean powers
To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
If it happends to be a stormy night
They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
If it happens the sun is shining bright
You would say they had nothing to do at all:
They are resting and saving themselves to be right
For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

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