A Pointless Death

We walked along the Fife Coastal Path
from Inverkeithing to St David’s Harbour.
It was cloudy, warm,
almost sultry.
Out on the Forth, two tugboats
raced towards the Forth Rail Bridge,
or so it seemed.
I took photos of grass
the colour of burnished gold.

Suddenly a brown and white spaniel
raced down into the water.
Two grey/brown gulls, startled,
flapped into the air but
one not fast enough.
There was a brief struggle,
a snapping noise
and it was over.
Two small boys shouted
‘It’s dead’.

The dog’s owner,
solid, with cropped hair,
saw our distress.
‘That was horrible’ said my wife.
‘You can’t blame the dog,
it’s in its nature’ he replied

Further along the path my wife turned.
‘At least I said something’.
‘Yes’ I said ‘Well done’
and felt bad.
But up to that point
my only concerns were with f-stops,
exposures and camera speed.
I didn’t expect sudden death.
Also, I realised I had no position
on what had occurred.

On the way home
one emerged.
‘It’s the dog’s nature,
you can’t blame the dog’.
Yes, but you could have
controlled it.
‘But I didn’t know
it was going to happen’.
No? , but then why keep as pets
animals that kill?

by Terry Hartery

Comments (7)

That was a great snapshot, which posed some interesting questions. As a Scot, I know what a beautiful view you must have had so the horror that followed packed even more of a punch. Hope to read more from you soon. Hugs Anna xxx
The dog sounds like a 'Springer' spaniel, who are dogs that retrieve the game birds when shot down. This would account for it going for the birds. I agree all dogs should be controlled but this was obviously so sudden that no one was to blame really. An accident. I have two cocker spaniels, they just put up the birds and don't retrieve. Nature is more powerful than anything, in so many ways, and animal instincts will always be there. A very well described piece of poetry and even though it was of a sad content, it was very well produced and constructed. Well done indeed, a great read. Love Ernestine XXX
Terry, this is a cool poem. You told the story well too. I hope we'll be reading more of your poems soon. Peace.
Narrative skills combined with an easy flow of words with a deep question to ponder. Susie.
I like your honesty when you say you had no position on what had occurred. Death always catches us unawares. A thought-provoking piece. I look forward to reading more of your poems. Warmly, Julia
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