Tomcat’s Sermon – a poem by Tamara Miles

Tomcat’s Sermon

Thus spake the prophet Tomcat, who had come to warn the people but got caught up in the sound of a whippoorwill whom he found to be quite lovely. He gave up prophecy for evangelism.

“And so it shall be that the Exodus will come to pass if the people fail to change. They must fall in love with the earth immediately. They must praise her all the day long. They must build temples in her honor.”

At one time, the Nile was worshiped as a god, and the poets glorified her.

Langston Hughes: “I’ve known rivers.”

Melissa Steffy: “The Choptank River is a living river,
thousands swim, fish and crab in her depths.”

The sun was adored, as well, and written and sung about.
Andrew Park: “A glorious orb is the sun. Who shall describe his flame?”

“I shall describe his flame,” said Tomcat the evangelist and true poet, (a fellow with a sketchy past in which he might have referred to a woman as “some dame” and promptly forgotten her name, but now there is this whippoorwill, and he can’t get the song out of his head but he must preach anyway.)

The flame of the sun starts in a distant green country. It never bows to anything or anyone.

The flame of the sun erupts in fertile lava as a result of his lovemaking.

The flame of the sun catapults energy southward and inward, and falls on altars and burns them up.

The flame of the sun is a supreme priest and a pharaoh bent on making history.

The flame of the sun says, “She is smoke and ash, fire and brimstone, and I love her.”

The flame of the sun kisses the feet of the earth and unbinds them, and bids them walk.

The flame of the sun illuminates Tutankhamun’s tomb, and unwraps him so that his gold face gleams and he becomes a god.

The flame of the sun puts everyone in the Middle Kingdom, with lion, crocodile, and hippopotamus.

The flame of the sun enlightens a culture, and impregnates poems.

The flame of the sun survives in art and architecture, and makes every day holy.

The flame of the sun is rekindled in community, with the candle-keepers, in monasteries and bars and creativity salons.

The flame of the sun is cyclical and harmonious and perfectly in tune every time.

Thus said Tomcat, also known as ka and ba, a person’s double, a spiritual ram, a spiritual entity, to his Whipporwill, who grew silent to enjoy the reading.

Tamara Miles teaches English and Humanities at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in South Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications including Fall Lines; Pantheon; Tishman Review; Animal; Obra/Artifact; Rush; Apricity; Snapdragon; Cenacle; RiverSedge; and Oyster River Pages. She was a 2016 contributor at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a resident at Rivendell Writers Colony in August, 2017. She hosts an audio poetry journal/radio show at called “Where the Most Light Falls.”


  1. Oh I love this Tamara ! Lovely to see it here!!! I am so honored to have been one of the lucky ones that heard you read this when you visited Cork last year at Ó’Bhéal !!! Well done xx

    Liked by 1 person

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