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You, Being Absent, and the Cat

Come to our rave-up in York, they said
You being absent, I said OK Why not ?
I drank several drinks
enough, no more, not to fall foul of the law
I danced a few jives and a couple of waltzes
I read some poems while the jazz band played,
and said a kind word to the fat girl with glasses
I could have made the available lay
instead of driving off,
mumbling about thirty miles
and a poem to be written

I ran over a cat at Sherburn-in-Elmet
It came out of the dark and under a wheel
The blood was sticky all over the tyre
An old cat, they said, and always careless
It wasn't my fault, they assured me
It was expected to happen sooner or later
Just my hard luck to get involved, they said,
giving me sugary tea to calm my nerves
I drank it quickly, thanked them, said good-bye

If asked tomorrow, I shall say
that it wasn't a bad party,
reaching, you being absent, for another black coffee

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