Dumb Dog

We avoid looking you
directly in the eye.
could instigate
a bite.
We watch you
come out from
your den
for ice cream, or
potato chips.
And every Spring,
like clockwork,
you’ll ask
what’s this all about,
this monstrosity.
You’ll beg us to
tell you why
you were born.
I’ll have a reunion
speech to rehearse
that very thing.
Your animal
ears will perk up,
which is a good sign,
but the dog that’s left
in you will say hunker down.
It can never be Spring.

Art credit to Karin Gustafson at Real Toads
My poem inspired by Annna Swir’s
Poetry Reading from her book,
“Talking to My Body”


18 thoughts on “Dumb Dog

  1. Hi Angie–whoa! Another very moving poem here. You use the dog image so well–I can’t think of what (GOP I’m pretty sure) president referred to himself as the big dog–but I keep hearing that in my mind, and I can imagine the body twitches and shake of this person coming out of his den for the snacks and some sense of the sense of it all–your language is very like dialogue as well as description, and the idea of the reunion speech, rehearsed, is so sad and telling, as is the failure of spring and, one thinks, renewal. Very well done. Thanks for participating with this poem, and thanks for thinking of the art–I like that one, which I was able to stop working on at a certain point, and then repainted pieces of the Klee again–but I find it is very hard with water color to make one’s self stop. I am used (lately) to doing little illustrations with the help of the iPad, where of course one can undo anything–or even with pencil, one can erase. Much harder to “fix” with paint–I have a few tubes of a thickish white, but I don’t think it’s the right kind! Anyway, thanks again. k.

  2. This poem reminds me of the idea of depression as the big black dog….have you ever seen those comparisons? So powerful. These last lines are particularly compelling in terms of that imagery:

    “but the dog that’s left
    in you will say hunker down.
    It can never be Spring.”

  3. Poor dog. Angie, I’m with the rest in hoping that the dog is a metaphor for someone or thing. Monstrosity can be the clue. Addiction of some sort?

      1. Thanks for your disclosing, Angie. I doubt that I would stop either. My dad lost track of things normal for the last four years of his life.
        Yes I have led a blessed life, even with a failed young marriage blessing us still, all three, Four kids never stop blessing us with pluses. After, I was blessed better still with a ‘new’ Mrs. Jim, and another daughter of ours, and two more granddaughters (one came with our daughter’s second package). Health wise also thanks to modern medicine and doctors. My aortic stent graft since 2001 sprang an endoleak and I had that repaired and was now checked Monday. All is well there, another issue looms now. But I’ve had a long blessed life just in case. I won’t feel cheated.

  4. I’m sorry, maybe I’ve had too many dogs. But I laughed in sympathy from the title through. Sympathy for everyone. Of course, the dog doesn’t know why it’s spring–or can believe it’s coming back. Isn’t this why sacrifices were made in ancient times at the solstice? As for the dog’s humans, how can they communicate effectively that spring’s return, an arrival whose timing cannot be negotiated, is going to happen? How do you jog a dog’s memory? So it can recall, Hey, we had all this a year ago. Why, we have this every year! Even humans fail at this. And if I have it all wrong here, then I apologize. Let’s say I was reading another poem.

  5. Ooooh the feels on this one.

    I love love love poetry that makes me feel. Anything. This one was full of feels.

    Glancing thru above comments…don’t ever feel bad for writing your truth and your heart, no matter how ugly or how pretty. Somebody somewhere needs to know that someone else knows how they feel. There’s beauty in shared emotion. You write what you want–and need–to write. Unapologetically.


    1. You, Christy…and Michelle need poetry Pom-poms 😉 Thanks for appreciating. I know re-visiting feelings is what a poet does. Just bugs me sometimes, but what else would I do? The rub. Life.

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