A Twist in the Tale: I’ve Tamed the Wild All


cat in front of black background

By Jenny Kalahar

Even if you have a fantastically magical touch with animals, there is sometimes that one cat, dog, rabbit, or iguana that just will not warm up to you. If you’ve been in that predicament, you can sympathize with the wizard in this poem.


I’ve Tamed the Wild All

A wolf’s muzzle warms me at my feet:

I’ve tamed the wild all

Snow dances in my palm for minutes

My breath scatters it to fall across the lands

Orange ruffled tiger, tired from play

Curls tail on nose at fireplace

All of these and more, and more

I’ve tamed the wild all


A tarantula tarantellas

Upon my oaken table top

I drink gold mead my own bees made

Because I bade them to

I’ve asked ten hundred orbing spides

To weave a pillow for my head

And soon I’ll lay upon it long

And dream a mansion for my bears:

I’ve tamed the wild all


But all of these dear wildings

Who’ve come to love as I love them

Leave me a bit unsatisfied—

There’s one who will not tame.

I know a cat named Dorothy

She sleeps within my barn by day

She eats what I will give, she will

But she I cannot touch


I’ve tried to dream her close to me

I’ve called and I have tempted

Promising to give her what I have

And more if she will come.

But Dorothy is Dorothy

She wants to be herself

Instead of one more tamed wild thing, so, yes:

I have not tamed the wild all


Jenny Kalahar, her husband Patrick, and their pets live in Indiana where she sells used and rare books and writes novels and poetry. Her two novels about fostering cats are Shelve Under C: A Tale of Used Books and Cats, and The Find of a Lifetime: Another Tale of Used Books and Cats. Her collection of nostalgic and humorous poetry is One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. For more, visit her blog, Bookselling and Writing with Weegee.

More from Jenny:

Nontraditional Pets

Santa’s Sauna

Natural Science Lessons for the Gullible


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