0027 Dog And Man

Beside me as I sit here typing is a golden pool, of relaxation,
alertness, patience and trust, uniquely brought together
in one glorious being. Do we really deserve each other?

surely anyone who has brushed the coat of, let’s say,
a golden Labrador, should be instantly converted
to belief in God? Or at the very least,
in an evolution which is more miraculous, more glorious
than many people’s view of God…

the long, smooth, silky, strong hairs on the back;
the trailing, slightly grubby hairs
of that emotional telegraph, the tail,
the magic gradations of the head hairs,
from sleek and flat around the collar; so fine in the ears;
laid so beautifully on the bony forehead which seems
so intelligent as you touch it, gently, on the centre,
watching the brimming, trusting, wary, luscious eyes; with
those almost hidden, expressive eyebrow hairs;
to smooth and wiry snout hairs toward the jaw,
around that moist muzzle, Columbus to the world,
which you may with his permission
touch lightly, as you’d touch
the most delicate of machinery made by man

how we may wonder, what they think of us,
as surely such magnificence must think?
Not so much, whether we’re God, or
Domestic Provider, or Leader of
The Depleted Pack, or simply
Today’s Elected Master –
no, the more intimate things, like – well, who knows? -

why They don’t look us in the eye at all times,
or what They're so busy doing between meals,
or why They just keep a boring straight line when
we go out for a wildness? in that map
of wind and air and smells and trails
and messages and mysteries, written
new every day, which They call
‘going for a walk’; requiring Their donning
of more layers of bedding material, never
to feel, poor species, the wind in Their fur
except on that insensitive slightly hairy head which doesn’t
even enjoy the world of smell?

but we have our special moments,
He and I; we play that game which is
our special thing; I’m lying there,
relaxed, alert, patient, trustful, sensing
it’s the time for wildness; we’re together in the head,
sharing the same mind just for a moment;
He doesn’t need to make more than that
familiar sound in his throat, the man-music
which as a puppy, I got to know as
‘would you like to go for a walk…? ’ –
now He plays this game, just makes that noise
in his throat… and my ears prick up – He’s mine
for a joyous whole hour, we’re going to live it up
where life is really lived – Outside.

by Michael Shepherd

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