‘Fee for a Feline’

As well as Mishka M. I’m tickled by any chance to go down the rabbit hole—or is it the “kitty condo”?—in search of quirky themes in premodern Arabic, and then to share them with the world. You: old furball, all worn out
In the bargain bin on discount
As does the frolicking and felicitous feline f-alliteration of @BintAbiMansur:
I found folk to be frequently fairer –
And you, to be further from fetching! Suggestions are always welcome. And for those who like pictures, here’s an image of a Mau to go along with it:
The Egyptian Mau (source: Wikipedia)
Appropriately enough, Bash Mahdawi brought in the image of an unraveling ball of string (our feline companions would surely have given their approval):
I’ve seen people gain a day in age
A day in beauty, but you just untwine
Like the kitten that comes at a high wage
When it gets old, the price is in decline
For a sober feel, connectinghamza used long lines to convey the gravity of al-Farazdaq’s message:
I’ve seen people who grow more beautiful by the day,
But you just go from bad to worse. Among other writers, the fifteenth-century polymath Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti has a cute rajaz   poem listing off sundry names for cats in his Diwan al-hayawan:
Now, there’s ‘cat’ [qiTT] and ‘alleycat’ [hirr],
and likewise ‘prancing chessy’[khayTal]
and after that, the old ‘housecat’ [sinnawr],
and then the ‘swaggerpussy’ [khanTal]”
You get the idea. It works the other way
It’s like this:
Them: cute fluffy kittens
Gotta have ’em! Meanwhile, the quick stride and slangy informality of abgadhawaz adds a lighter touch (this is the second of two entries):
Some folks look finer by the day
But you? Now, a frosty Fritz,
zestless and chagrin. Like a kitten
you only mean anything
when you’re young
you know that’s true. Whilst inflated is the fee for a feline –
If its flame flickers, the figure is trifling! Like a pussy – or cat –
the kitten’s all that
But with age, nothing’s left to delight in. Here is Hamid Ouyachi:
Time passes
with graces for many. Only you,
Gain in worthlessness
The older you get. ‘Fee for a Feline’

ArabLit hosted our sixth   edition of the Arabic Translation Challenge starting June 16, 2020:
By Kevin Blankinship
Thanks to everyone for another great #ArabicTranslationChallenge! Felines especially are an endless source of mirth. Kevin Blankinship is an assistant professor at Brigham Young University. Continuing in the Irish vein, Aidan Kaplan submitted a James Joyce-inspired prose version to celebrate Bloomsday, commemorated each year on 16 June, the day his 1922 novel Ulysses takes place in 1904 and named after its protagonist Leopold Bloom (Aidan was also inspired by Michael Cooperson’s Joycean “Englishing” of Imposture 46 by al-Hariri, called “Araby” in English):

As did @PressTaras, “from the perspective of Leopold Bloom’s cat at the top of book 2 (Calypso), exploring her inscrutable motives as she toys with Bloom for attention, through the imagery of the Cheshire Cat” (for an extra gloss, @PressTaras notes that “‘pussens,’ ‘Mrkgnao,’ ‘avid shameclosing eyes,’ and ‘green stones’ are all significant terms/phrases of Joyce’s [not my word choice] in the chapter, which you can see here):

Several non-English versions came in this week, including the fine French of Stéphanie Dujols:
On dit qu’le temps nous bonifie, toi tu rancis
T’es qu’un vieux mistigri qui n’vaut plus un radis
There was also the well-wrought German of @Leonie_Rau_ (we appreciate the hard work that went into this!):

And in a first for the #ArabicTranslationChallenge, a rendering into Indonesian by @mustamdi_ :

Finally, sliding in under the wire were Hajar Almahfoodh’s spectacled Silvester:

And Alexander Key’s rendering, which as Theresa Reaper put it, felt like a “velvet glove to the face”:
I see people
getting beautiful
day after day
but just not you. Or Suneela Sunbula rhyming ABAB:
Folks get lovelier by the day
you just get meaner
Like baby kittens fetchin’ high pay
Then they grow the sum gets leaner
And Kay Lee’s AABA quatrain:
With age, some people grow in beauty,
but you’ve grown faulty!  
For you:
it couldn’t afford any. Like the kitty-cat that’s worth a fair penny,
Until it grows old and looses no purse. Mourani:
The older people get
The more they gain in favor. Zinger! Next week will be the last round of our pilot program, after which we’ll take a few weeks off to consider how best to continue the series. And Eva Kahan sent in a proper limerick:
Every day, I meet people who brighten
with age – but you just seem to frighten. Thanks for your support thus far! Like a high-priced Mau in youth,
loses worth with infirmity. In fact, more than one participant submitted a limerick or similarly light form that picked up the epigrammatic feel. It was a joy to see your catlike reflexes as you took on al-Farazdaq’s couplet about aging gracelessly:

As in past weeks, many entrants went for it with formal poetry. See you Tuesday for the final pilot episode! Once, a prize-puss
all for bragging. Ahdaf Soueif’s slant rhyme and reflective stance sets the right mood:
I saw people add to their beauty day
by day – while yours got less:
a playful kitten will fetch a price
but you can’t get rid of an ancient puss. I’m smitten! Now that’s what I call letting the cat out of the bag.