Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance.
M. C. Richards
"Pacing the shore, the ship's cat." Unknown
It isn't usually the obvious that slaps us in the face. It's the realization that we have missed the point.
Most people would probably pay no heed to such a cat, and if heed was paid one might say that there was a cat down by the shore. Some might opine that it was looking for a fish. But since when do fish jump out of the water and invite themselves to dinner? And if such an event were to occur due to some lunar influence why aren't there other cats down there to enjoy the repast?
But this is no ordinary cat. This is a ship's cat. How did the cat and his ship get separated? Did the ship sink? In which case how did the car survive? Or did the ship sail off and the car "missed the boat?" Anyone who knows cats knows how territorial they are. It's not likely the cat would stray too far from its home. Or did the captain get tired of the cat and throw it overboard. No, the cat has duties on board that ship. It's an essential part of the crew or it wouldn't be the ship's cat in the first place.
But lets assume the cat and ship got separated somehow and the cat is waiting for the vessel to return. But the cat is not just waiting, it's pacing. This is an anxious cat. And pacing means back and forth over the same part of the shore. Why is that? It must be where the ship is accustomed to dock.
Maybe the ship is on its way in and the cat knows it before any local humans do, Or what if its a female cat with babies on board. That's enough to make her pace.
See how the author of this simple 6 word line of verse has opened up a world of questions and taken us on a journey of investigation.
Any good poem will do the same. I'm not a poet, but I appreciate fine poetry because it does turn my mind inside out and blow perfume at it.
BTW, if anyone knows who wrote that line of verse, please let us know. I used to know but I've forgotten his name.
DB - Vagabond