I know where the bobcat sleeps

I know where the bobcat sleeps, alas!
When the sun shines bright and cars grumble and stir;
When the people jog through fields of grass,
And fallen leaves prance on streams of glass;
When cyclists pedal and bike tires whir,
And nighttime hopes its secret keeps—
I know where the bobcat sleeps!

I know where the bobcat rests its head;
Where it tends its fur and bides its time
Till dusk does come and day be dead;
When people huddle beneath sheets in bed;
For it wanders the night on paths of mine,
Through woods I walk and fields I stroll;
I know where the bobcat goes!

I know where the bobcat hunts, oh yes,
When the air hangs dark and the city sleeps,
When it moves about with stealth of breath;
Its form a shadow to make you guess
If you see a cat or just nighttime creeps;
But a hunter could be there nearby
For I know where the bobcat lies!

— — — — — — — — — —


[1] The idea, cadence and form for this bit of fun are shamelessly borrowed from “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, one my favorite poems.  I have no doubt I’ve done it a great injustice…

[2] Despite its jovial playfulness, this “poem” (to abuse the term) is based on fact: there is a healthy, good-sized bobcat living at White Rock Lake and easily seen if you know where it lives.  (For the welfare of the cat, I will not publicly disclose anything about its location.)  I watched it a week ago as it stalked and eventually caught a rabbit.  A few days after that another park visitor photographed it just after sunset in the same area.  In the past two weeks I’ve seen the bobcat regularly, almost always coming from and going into the same area of woods.  Since it returns before daybreak and comes out only at dusk or later, seeing it is one thing and photographing it is quite another.  But I’m trying!

[3] The bobcat is quite large for this species, though not so large as to be abnormal.  Its size indicates it likely is a male.  That assumption, as it is, could be wrong, yet it’s a safe bet based on the feline’s physical presence.

[4] Bobcats at the lake are nothing new.  Then again, neither are foxes (both kinds), coyotes, skunks, beavers, minks, more birds than you can imagine, or an unbelievably vast amount of other wildlife.  As urban parks go, White Rock Lake covers more than 2,000 acres but is surrounded on all sides by dense suburban and urban development (commercial and residential).  Nevertheless, the lake provides a surprisingly diverse ecosystem for critters of all sorts.  From riparian habitats to prairie to woodlands to an 1,100-acre lake, this place offers home to a vast array of life.  As I’ve always said, if one is to live in Dallas, this is the only option.

4 thoughts on “I know where the bobcat sleeps”

    1. Thanks, Jain!

      Believe me when I say I have no intention of sharing the bobcat’s location. We had an unfortunate incident in one of the suburbs about a year ago: a bobcat was occasionally roaming about a new neighborhood (it was on the outskirts of urban sprawl, hence it bordered undeveloped land). When the bobcat was seen in the daytime strolling down a sidewalk, people–as they’re wont to do–freaked out.

      A short while after it started appearing, animal control was called out because it appeared to be wounded. One of its back feet had been severed in an illegal claw-type trap. Someone in the area had decided the cat was a threat and needed to be killed. Very unfortunate but very predictable.

      And once the bobcat was removed? The neighborhood became overrun with rodents and rabbits–all within about six months.

      (No worries on the bobcat. It was taken to a wildlife rehab center. Though it was expected to survive, I don’t know that it could have been returned to the wild given the loss of a back foot. Even if it couldn’t be released, though, there are several cat rescue organizations in the area with lots of room and that specialize in cougars, bobcats and the like.)

    1. Glad you liked it, Liz! It was a bit of fun–certainly based on my childlike excitement over having the bobcat around. And they are beautiful cats, even if not as large and imposing as cougars or leopards. There’s a bit of magic in seeing one (mind you, I obviously have a big place in my heart for all things feline!).

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