Red Writing Hood: Chatoyant

Write on Edge Red writing hood prompt

Image courtesy of etsy.com

According to Dr. Beard, two of the most beautiful words in the English language are chatoyant (like a cat’s eye) and ailurophile (a cat lover). T.S. Eliot, in his wonderful Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, used another of Dr. Beard’s favorite words, ineffable, to describe the secret name of a cat:

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 up 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
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name

So this week, be it cats or names or beautiful words, be inspired by something from this post. You have 500 words. Happy holidays!

The linky is open now through 11.59 pm PST on Friday. Don’t forget to read your colleague’s entries. Our community is enriched by participation and support!


3 Responses to Red Writing Hood: Chatoyant
  1. Red Writing Reminder! | Write On Edge
    December 21, 2012 | 3:01 am

    [...] Chatoyant link-up ends tonight at 11:59PST. Did you ponder Shelton’s suggestions and write about names, did you [...]

  2. [...] is for this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt at Write On Edge.  This week’s inspiration was beautiful words, cats, and names [...]

  3. [...] I’ve been thinking about phonaesthetics — the pleasantness or unpleasantness of words without concern for the meaning — since our prompt about Dr. Beard’s beautiful words. [...]