Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 17:02:18 EDT

From: Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MOREHEAD-ST.EDU

Subject: Re: firecat

John Serio, editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal, has asked for help in

identifying the "firecat" in the following poem by Stevens. Does anyone

know the term? He says that in a letter Stevens said that he had "actual

animals" in mind.

Earthy Anecdote

Every time the bucks went clattering

Over Oklahoma

A firecat bristled in the way.

Wherever they went,

They went clattering,

Until they swerved

In a swift, circular line

To the right,

Because of the firecat.

Or until they swerved

In a swift, circular line

To the left,

Because of the firecat.

The bucks clattered.

The firecat went leaping

To the right, to the left,


Bristled in the way.

Later, the firecat closed his bright eyes

And slept.

An album by Cat Stevens (really his best work) is titled "Teaser and the

Firecat." The album cover has a picture of a boy and an orangish-red cat.

I don't recall any use of the term "firecat" in any of the songs, but I

don't have a copy now to listen to. But this is a later use of the word.

"Firecat" is also the name of a hunting bow and I think a kind of fighter


Stevens may have simply meant a reddish colored cat. Cats do "bristle."

Terry Irons



Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

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