sonnet 18 (ish)

Shall I compare thee to a blustery walk?
Thou art more bedraggl’d and more desperate:
Rough shakes do make your owner squawk,
And wonder who the hell hath suggested it;
Sometime too full the clouds of heaven burst,
And oft is thy cold complexion mean;
And every drop from heaven somewhat curs’d,
By forecast or by weather app unseen;
But thy eternal damp fur shall not lieth,
Nor lose possession of that rug thou fowl’st;
Nor shall warmth brag thou art finally drieth,
When from time to time thou quietly growl’st:
So long as dogs take walks inclemently
So long do I, and then give towel to thee

dog fit

Do dogs look like their owners?
Or vice versa?
(in which case
I’m a long-haired
type of inertia)

The reason I ask
is because on the last
coupla walks
I’ve stopped to talk
with a guy out running with his Vizsla
we don’t say much in particzsla
just stuff about the weathzsla

I have to admit they’re a gorgeous pair!
panting and smiling there
jogging on the spot
stretching their hams and whatever they’ve got
totally working the woodland path
like a before and after photograph
both in headbands
fluorescent bibs
rangy legs and sculpted ribs
gold button eyes
hyper expressions
like they’ve only got a half of one second
to spare from their morning workout session
whereas me n’Stanley
on the other hand
shaggy and gangly
slouch across
like two stoned hippies lost
at Glastonbury
wandering into the Wellness Zone
where dogs and owners are brushed & toned
running on treadmills for carbless bones
and we watch and wonder how driven they are
then wander off looking for Shangri-La

But hey
it’s okay
the guy just chose the breed
best designed to meet his needs
active, smart, with a burst of speed
something to help him finally achieve
those cardio-stats and great PBs
all downloaded for social sharing
from the lime green BarkBit bands they’re wearing

let there be lurcher

1: In the beginning Dog opened his eyes, and there was the heavens and the earth.

2: Now the earth was formless and empty, as it was only around six thirty, and Man hath not descended yet for breakfast, as it was not his day of work, so was sleeping in late, which for him was great, but not so much for Dog, and the Spirit of Dog, forlornly yawning on the sofa.

3: And Dog thought Let there Be Light, and there WAS light, because FINALLY Man appeared looking a fright, scratching his head all wild from his bed, yawning, saying unto Dog ‘Good Morning’

4: Dog saw that breakfast was light, and the chances of a walk were bright.

5: Dog called the light ‘Walk’ and the darkness ‘Not Walk’. And apart from ‘Food’ and ‘Not Food’, and a few other things, that was about the sum of it, for he was Dog, and not known for his conversation.

6: And Dog said: ‘Let there be a Vault to separate Walk from Not Walk.’

7: So Dog allowed the Vault which separated Walk from Not Walk. And it was so.

8: Although… to be honest…. I think he meant ‘Harness’ not ‘Vault’. But he’s a rough-haired lurcher so it’s not his fault.

9: And Dog said: ‘I don’t care that it’s pouring with rain in one place, for dry ground will appear’. And it was so. Because Dog hath special weather forecasting skills, you know.

10: Dog called the dry ground ‘Great’ and the gathered waters he called ‘Shake’. And Dog saw that it was good.

11: Then Dog said, ‘Let me stop at every scrap of vegetation, every seed bearing lamppost, tree with seeds, in fact anything vaguely seedy, for my bladder is grievously full and needy, and I must mark my favourite spots most diligently. And it was so.

12: And for a land with SO many seedy spots, impressively so.

13: And Time speedeth up, and Dog lost track. And only came back when he couldst be sure of a snack. And Dog had a good and godly run. And Dog saw his Bowl, laden with all manner of things to eat. And his tail didst beat. And Dog didst scran till his tag on the bowlside rang.

14: And so ended the morning of the First Day. And Dog saw all he had done, and was amazed.

another wet one

poor stanley
reluctant to go out, understandably
staring at me behaving randomly
dressed like a gore tex survivalist’s fantasy
waving a snorkel, grimacing manfully

(just to explain:
it’s absolutely pouring with rain
at levels Niagara couldn’t sustain
the street a uniquely aquatic domain
Noah on the blower shouting God – not AGAIN!)

so of course – we get wet
wetter than wet
absolutely the wettest yet
if anyone’s been wetter I haven’t met ‘em
and if they say they’ve been wetter well go ahead let ‘em
I’ll tip my dripping hat and forget ‘em

Stanley soaks it up like the finest of sponges
loses a gallon whenever he lunges

I say hello to the people we pass
a floundering flounder, sniffing the seagrass
a dogfish, pollack, mackerel and huss
waiting in line for a number nine bus
which pulls up, driven by an octopus

it’s a very, VERY short walk of course
the shortest walk ever by all reports
we strip in the kitchen down to our shorts
and as I towel him off I can read his thoughts:
What d’ya think I am, a goddamn seahorse?

stanlet, Act III, Scene I

To pee, or not to pee, that is the question:
Whether it is nobler in the hound to suffer
The tugs and drags of outraged humans,
Or to lift a leg against a range of objects
And by sprinkling, wet them. To pee – to wee,
And more; and by a wee to say we end
The bladder ache and thousand natural spots
That dogs are heir to: ‘tis a micturition
Devoutly to be wished. To pee, to wazz;
To seep, perchance to stream – ay, there’s the job:
For in that leak of length what hounds may come
When we have shuffled along this mortal trail,
Must stay our paws – there’s the respect
That marks the territory of so long a walk.
For who would bear the cats and squirrels of time,
The weather’s wrong, the delivery man’s contumely,
The pangs of owner’s love, the snack’s delay,
The absence of sofas, and the spurns
That patient moan of the late walk takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare foreskin? Who would gardens bear,
To run and fetch with frisbee light,
But that the dread of something after supper,
The bare blanket’d basket from whose bourn
No hound returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear the owners we have
Than fly to owners that we know not of?
Thus rambles doth make bladders of us all,
And thus the straw coloured hue of micturition
Is trickled o’er the cast iron lampost,
And enterprises of great piss and moment
In this regard their currents go a’spray
And wet the name of action – Woof you now!
The fair Brodie! Nymph, in thy haunches
Be all my sins remember’d.

saturated stanley

we set off together
it rained – a LOT
I had an umbrella
Stanley did not

he shook his paws
he got so wet
I’m not even sure
he’s forgiven me yet

his fur went all curly
it was quite a thing
he looked pretty surly
about the whole thing

next time I promise
if it looks like a storm
I’ll take off your harness
and we’ll stay in the warm

rescue dog

Out on our morning walk we found
the storm had brought an oak tree down
blocking our usual route
with its branches & roots
‘I think we can climb through’
I said optimistically
Stanley looked up at me uncertainly
‘Just pretend you’re a rescue dog’
The inevitable epilogue?
Stanley got stuck
so I had to go back and pick him up
he’s a big dog; it was a big production
in his case ‘Rescue Dog’ more of an instruction

suddenly stanley

We were way out over the fields for a hike
a fabulous April morning – but also kinda fake
every cloud just a little TOO cloud-like
the kind of cloud a cloud machine would make
the grass glassy and crunchy
Stanley’s hair tufty and bunchy
buffeted in the jesus-christ-this-breeze-is-actually-freezing kinda way
but despite all that it was a lovely day

Suddenly Stanley froze
(but not because of the temperature)
tense from his nose to his hairy toes
like a novelty dog-shaped piece of furniture
with lots of ribby drawers
and cute caster claws
and a whole lot of other things I suppose
but I’m afraid that’s as far as this metaphor goes

‘What is it, Stanley?’ I said
crouching masterfully by his side
so MY head was in line with HIS head
and the dog perspective that supplied
‘Stanley? What’s wrong?’
he was tense like a singer about to launch into song
after one or two bars from the orchestra
or maybe a brilliant scientist working on a formula

but just as suddenly he unfroze
gave his body a vigorous shake
trotted on happily tail thru nose
like all that drama was a big mistake
I followed on behind
turning over in my mind
the subtle differences you might choose to log
between the brain of a human and the brain of a dog

My conclusion?
heightened senses are a wonderful thing
but can lead to confusion
especially around Spring

what’s in a name

we were coming back from the copse
of course
a copse is just trees
a corpse is a job for the police
or ‘cops’
but I’m afraid that’s where the matter drops)


Stanley was lagging
his paws
I wasn’t sure
we’d had a good long walk
me shooting crows with a camera
Stanley using his nose with stamina
so it wasn’t as if
he was miffed
we were coming back sooner than we shoulda
and he’d have stayed out longer if he coulda
and he didn’t have a thorn in his paw
(I checked all four)
and I was pretty sure
he hadn’t torn
a ligament
he just stood there looking innocent
all in all it was quite a predicament

So – and I can’t believe I’m blushing –
here’s the thing:
Stanley is a dog of many names
some of them normal, some of them strange
it just depends on how the mood takes you
and how the hound currently relates to you
so, standing stuck with him there on the pavement
I said ‘c’mon sweet nuts’ as a means of encouragement
(where it came from I’ve no idea
he hasn’t had nuts for a couple of years )
anyway – all this would’ve been totally fine
if there hadn’t been another guy following behind
‘not you, the dog…’ I said
the guy shook his head
and hurried on
and it was only when I was sure he was gone
that I tugged on the lead and struggled on
(it’s really beyond embarrassing, Stanley
some names are better off kept in the family)