In November 2013 Alan Brooks drew my attention to the poem 'The Galloping Cat' by Stevie Smith. He pointed out that he saw parallels between me and the eponymous character. I have read the poem many times since and it delights me. I can see myself in the galloping cat - both the determination to do good and the sometimes ugly smugness that accompanies my attempts to do so.

In this blog I will document the public and private moments in my life as I try do some good. The story has twists and turns. I hope the act of recording them will help straighten out some of those curves so that I can remain focused on my larger goals. I also plan to draw attention to the activities of other galloping cats. Perhaps this will inspire some readers to take a few small steps of their own on the path of doing good. What is the worst that can happen? A slip on a banana peel or a bald spot.

The Galloping Cat 
Stevie Smith

Oh I am a cat that likes to
Gallop about doing good
One day when I was
Galloping about doing good, I saw
A figure in the path; I said
Get off! (Be-
I am a cat that likes to
Gallop about doing good)

But he did not move, instead
He raised his hand as if
To land me a cuff
So I made to dodge so as to
Prevent him bringing it orf,
Un-for-tune-ately I slid
On a banana skin
Some Ass had left instead
Of putting in the bin. So
His hand caught me on the cheek
I tried
To lay his arm open from wrist to elbow
With my sharp teeth
Because I am
A cat that likes to gallop about doing good.
Would you believe it?
He wasn’t there
My teeth met nothing but air,
But a Voice said: Poor Cat,
(Meaning me) and a soft stroke
Came on me head
Since when
I have been bald.
I regard myself as
A martyr to doing good

Also I heard a swoosh
As of wings, and saw
A halo shining at the height of
Mrs Gubbins’s backyard fence,
So I thought: What’s the good
Of galloping about doing good
When angels stand in the path
And do not do as they should
Such as having an arm to be bitten off
All the same I
Intend to go on being
A cat that likes to
Gallop about doing good
Now with my bald head I go,
Chopping the untidy flowers down, to
and fro,
An’ scooping up the grass to show
The cinder path of wrath
Ha ha ha ha, ho,
Angels aren’t the only ones who do
not know
What’s what and that
Galloping about doing good
Is a full time job
That needs
An experienced eye of earthly
Sharpness, worth I dare say
(if you’ll forgive a personal note)
A good deal more
Than all that skyey stuff
Of angels that make so bold as
To pity a cat like me that
Gallops about doing good.

Hear the poet reading her poem.