Butterfly Effect: A Variation, NaPoWriMo

Pond beside Multiplex, Voorhees, NJ--Merril D. Smith 2019

“’Cat’s paw’ is the weather term of the day. It is a light breeze affecting a small area, such as would cause a patch of ripples on the surface of a still water surface.”

–US National Weather Service, Nashville, TN, Feb. 5, 2014

Cat’s paw breeze tickles

the water ripples,

sighs in a reflective purr.


The goose quivers in delight

on the water ripples

honks to her mate, in flight


he answers from above

the water ripples,

then settles by his love.


Crow hears their squawks

from the water ripples,

caws from his perch on the rocks.


The sound carries for miles

beyond the water ripples

to where the mockingbird smiles,


and from up in a tree

far beyond the water ripples

he sings of hearts soaring free


in cat paw tickles

water ripples trickling

sighs, caws, purrs, and cries


And I open the window–

on a catercorner breeze

to listen to his reprise.


The NaPoWriMo, Day 10 prompt is to write “a poem that starts from a regional phrase, particularly one to describe a weather phenomenon.” I don’t know what region “cat’s paw breeze” comes from, but I love it. The poem evolved because yesterday afternoon, I listened to a mockingbird put on a long concert that included the calls of other birds.









30 thoughts on “Butterfly Effect: A Variation, NaPoWriMo

  1. What a wonderful term for a secluded light breeze. Must try to remember that one.
    Loved the repetition with slight change. A nice rhythm created here.

  2. I’ve seen tiny ripples on the water, and it’often where there’s a break in the shoreline trees. Now I have a name for the cause!

    “sighs in a reflective purr” is perfect for that situation.
    I’ll think of that now, any time I’m kayaking.

  3. What a wonderful find (cat’s paw) Merril and you made a wonderful poem to go with it. I would have loved to have heard that Mockingbird concert 🙂

  4. Cat’s paw! I recall I’ve heard this term once before many years ago, but I’m so glad to renew my acquaintance with it. I love the repetition of the water ripples – it ties everything together just like the river waves. And ‘sighs in a reflective purr’ – ooooooooooooh how apt!

    I went with a quaint little phrase we use to describe drizzles, for Day 10 (mostly because I was post-performance and way too tired to do any more than grab at the first thing out my brain.) Furry rain!


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