Poem By Pete Crowther
Amongst the ancient artefacts unearthed
were six dog-collars with their owners’ names
in hieroglyphs—three thousand years it is
since Brave One and his master went to hunt
for waterfowl among the reedy marshes
of the Nile, near where, beneath a shady palm,
the dogs, Good Herdsman and Reliable,
stood guard upon their master’s herd of kine;
nearby North Wind (the fastest dog in Thebes)
and Antelope strove might and main to keep
penned safe a restless flock of bleating sheep,
all steady dogs deserving of our praise.
But who’s that scruffy dog with lolling tongue
and sideways grin that idly lollops by?
A good for nothing sort of beast, he looks,
too loveable to guard a house, too daft
to herd a sheep and slow to bring back game,
but you know his master must have loved him
when he dubbed him with that name—can you guess?
In hieroglyphs or English it’s the same — “Useless! ”