Introductory Note:

Today (October 4) is the Feast Day of St. Francis.

In celebrating St. Francis of Assisi this week, our minds are recalled to this sweet poem, written in the margins of a monastic primer in the 9th century, about the twin pursuits of a monk and his cat, Pangur Bán. There is something of the touch of Francis about these lines — a genuine respect and appreciation for this little cat, a fellow creature who is as assiduously focused on his God-appointed task as the monk himself! If you have ever enjoyed the pleasures of working in the company of an animal friend, today’s post is for you!

(Translated from the Irish by Robin Flower.)

—Renovaré Team

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.