Once you were quicksilver

This quadrille is for dverse. The word to include is ‘flicker’, and it is inspired by our little blue cat, the first of our Bordeaux cats to die, very young and unexpectedly.

Photo ©La Rose Tueuse


Once you were quicksilver,

a shadow seen through leaves,

a flicker of sunlight,

a streak of blue, polished like sealskin,

in the tree, leaping the wall.

The last memory cuts deepest,

of your eyes, their light,

a mere flicker

to say you were leaving.




Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

83 thoughts on “Once you were quicksilver”

    1. Thanks Alison 🙂 He was such a lively, alive little cat but, we suspect, a breeder’s reject hence how a pedigree kitten found his way to the SPA. I hate the trade in living things.

  1. This is beautiful Jane although it left me immensely sad.
    “a streak of blue, polished like sealskin” – perfect description!
    Anna :o]

  2. So sad and poignant ~ I think I will break down seeing that light flickering away in their eyes ~ Thanks Jane for being part of our community ~

    1. Thank you. It was the first time I’d watched a young animal die, and it was awful. When Branwell got sick (feline AIDS) and the vet said there was nothing to be done, I had him put to sleep before he got to the stage where he didn’t know anyone or care about anything any more. It was tough and I wept like a fountain, but I couldn’t go through with holding a dying cat for days until he just stopped living.

      1. It reminded me of when my mother died. She had pancreatic cancer and went from feeling bad to a coma in a matter of hours. They stopped the morphine when her kidneys gave up, said she couldn’t feel anything. It was just her heart keeping her going. She lasted just until I arrived, then barely an hour later she died.

  3. It’s downright tough to watch pets die. They are so much more. Just furry family members, (sometimes brighter than the rest). lol We’ve lost cats and dogs. We always swear we’ll never have another and then they just show up

    1. Why can’t they live longer? Until a year ago, Finbar was charging around like a wild puppy, getting himself into fights and having to be put back together again by the vet, but in the course of a year he has slowed down and is beginning to look old and tired. I’m dreading the day he can’t get up on his long legs.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved cat. It’s so heart breaking to lose a pet. We had four cats over the years and when the last one died we decided no more…we just couldn’t go through that again. I can sympathize with you. Your poem is beautiful.

    1. We’ve had six and the four boys have all died, and only one of old age. It’s hard to watch a young animal die, but as you say, they just turn up and you take them in, for however short a time.

      1. Yes, it’s hard not to take them in. But so rewarding. That’s especially hard when they die young. Our last two cats were around ten. One developed a neurological disease and the other cancer. (Our previous two were sisters who lived good long lives, thankfully.)

  5. Oh…..a big sigh escaped as I read the end of this beautiful and sensitive post. I feel the beauty of this being — so much more than a “pet.” Beautiful photo also.

    1. Thanks Lillian. According to the vet, in-breeding causes premature kidney failure in this breed. Probably why he was dumped at the SPA where our eldest daughter adopted him. He was a beautiful little thing, but programmed genetically to be sickly. I hate unscrupulous animal breeders.

  6. Pets simply do not live long enough, not even my cocker spaniel Bette who lived to be 18. But our lives would be much poorer if they never graced us with their brief time in this world. Nicely done.

  7. Such a beautiful tribute poem for your sweet kitty. Heartbreaking, but I think they take comfort in knowing you were there to the end. We just lost our blue kitty a few weeks ago. He was with us for 20 years. (((hugs))) ❤

      1. The vet promised he wasn’t in pain, couldn’t feel anything anymore. He was my daughter’s cat and she was on an internship and they wouldn’t give her the time off to take him to the vet and be with him when he was put to sleep. So we kept him at home. Awful.

  8. So sad, yet wonderfully expressed about losing a loved one and the last memory is the look of the eyes. I deeply remember the eyes of my Sassy before she left us a few years ago. ❤

    1. Our first cat died twenty years ago and I still remember the look he gave me when I settled him in his basket by the radiator on his last night. He knew he was going, I’m sure of it. It was probably the only night he wasn’t slapped round the head for doing something wicked like stealing the cheese or pulling the groceries out of the cupboard over the sink…

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