Skimbleshanks is a character in T. S. Eliot’s 1939 book of poetry Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical Cats, which is based on Eliot’s book. The character is portrayed as a bright and energetic orange tabby cat who lives and works on the mail trains.
The role of Skimbleshanks was originated in the West End by Kenn Wells in 1981, and on Broadway by Reed Jones in 1982. He was portrayed by Geoffery Garrat and David Arneil in the 1998 film adaptation, and Steven McRae in the 2019 film adaptation.
|Skimbleshanks : The Railway Cat Poem – T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)|
Skimbleshanks : The Railway Cat Poem – T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
There’s a whisper down the line at 11.39
When the Night Mail’s ready to depart,
Saying “Skimble where is Skimble has he gone
to hunt the thimble?
We must find him or the train can’t start.”
All the guards and all the porters and the
They are searching high and low,
Saying “Skimble where is Skimble for unless
he’s very nimble
Then the Night Mail just cant go.
At 1.42 then the signal s nearly due
And the passengers are frantic to a man-
Then Skimble will appear and he’ll saunter to
He’s been busy in the luggage van!
He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes
And the signal goes “All Clear!”
And we’ re off at last for the northern part
Of the Northern Hemisphere!
You may say that by and large it is Skimble
who’s in charge
Of the Sleeping Car Express.
From the driver and the guards to the bagmen
He will supervise them all, more or less.
Down the corridor he paces and examines all
Of the travellers in the First and the Third;
He establishes control by a regular patrol
And he’d know at once if anything occurred.
He will watch you without winking and he sees
what you are thinking
And it’s certain that he doesn’t approve
Of hilarity and riot, so the folk are very quiet
When Skimble is about and on the move.
You can play no pranks with Skimbleshanks!
Hes a Cat that cannot be ignored
So nothing goes wrong on the Northern Mail
When Skimbleshanks is aboard.
Oh, it’s very pleasant when you have found
your little den
With yourname written up on the door.
And the berth is very neat with a newly folded
And there’s not a speck of dust on the floor.
There is every sort of light-you can make it
dark or bright;
There’s a handle that you turn to make a
There’s a funny little basin you’re supposed to
wash your face in
And a crank to shut the windowif you sneeze,
Then the guard looks in politely and will ask
you very brightly
“Do you like your morning tea weak or
But Skimble’s just behind him and was ready to
For Skimble won’t let anything go wrong.
And when you creep into your cosy berth
And pull up the counterpane,
You ought to reflect that it’s very nice
To know that you won’t be bothered by mice-
You can leave all that to the Railway Cat,
The Cat of the Railway Train!
In the watches of the night he is always fresh
Every now and then he has a cup of tea
With perhaps a drop of Scotch while he’s
keeping on the watch,
Only stopping here and there to catch a flea.
You were fast asleep at Crewe and so you never
That he was walking up and down the station;
You were sleeping all the while he was busy at
Where he greets the stationmaster with
But you saw him at Dumfries, where he speaks
to the police
If there’s anything they ought to know about:
When you get to Gallowgate there you do not
have to wait-
For Skimbleshanks will help you to get out!
He gives you a wave of his long brown tail
Which say: “Till see you again!
You’ll meet without fail on the Midnight M
The Cat of the Railway Train.”
Read All Poem By T.S Eliot – Click Here