! 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
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...
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