Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! Dogged By Comparisons - Poem by Michael Shepherd

Behind the gym on the non-stop route out of town
and the housing estate and the light industrial
awaiting a so-called ‘developer’
there’s this park – correction, Dogshit Central;

once, I guess, it was a ‘common’; now,
even ‘civic amenity area’ is too good for it;

at the far end, an occasional gardener clips a hedge,
prunes the few rose bushes once a year;
this end, it’s all railings and rough grass
and dogs.

Not dogs and people; dogs. At weekends,
dogs and people, yes; balls and sticks are thrown,
exercise taken, tails wagged;
humans are human once again..

weekdays, how convenient
to combine the dog-walkies with
the shopping; leave them there for an hour or so,
they’ll be safe, make their own entertainment..

so – no balls, no sticks, no masters – what do they do?
Today, there’s five of them in a merry pack,
tongues out, tails flying, bounding around half-turning,
eager for more joy, more joy,
using twice the energy they’d use for rabbit-stalking…
celebrating their dogness, and pure being, celebrating life itself…

Now gather their five owners in a posse…
a sorry bunch of humans,
uncomfortable in the company of their kind,
at best, living the wild life through their dogs,
at worst, not fit to own a dog…

don’t you wonder that dogs
don’t lose their sanity, their joy,
their faithfulness, their loyalty,
having to look after the spiritual welfare
of this two-legged and unnatural,
inferior and drearier
branch of evolution, the human race?
They who bury their hopes and fears
to dig them up again tomorrow,
to chew them over in regret and guilt...

Comments about ! Dogged By Comparisons by Michael Shepherd

  • (7/28/2007 2:06:00 AM)

    Love the philosophical turn about in the last stanza (the last couplet really bites) . And the playful dogs and their glorious dogginess. As a 'responsible' dog owner, I am regularly appalled by the hideous misbehaviour of dog owners who bought their charges unwisely and treat them without care. Long live all dogs! ! ! love, Allie and Ella (my beautiful dachshund) xxxx (Report) Reply

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  • (7/20/2007 6:35:00 AM)

    Oh, this sort of makes me sigh and smile.... and ultimately think indeed, packed last stanza and all. t x (Report) Reply

  • (7/18/2007 11:42:00 AM)

    There was one sentence - celebrating their dogness! - which describes the whole poem for me. How very true... (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Poem Edited: Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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