Rén is a traditional Chinese character that can be roughly translated as "humanity" or "humaneness". The rén rén is a "benevolent" or "humane person".

Bǐ mò is a term for "pen and ink", "words" or bits of writing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

P&W Prompt 3 - Dog Days


The Prompt: (retrieved from Angelspeak)  

What is something you are afraid to write about in your own poems, either because it is too personal, or because you feel it is cliché? Create a character - a swarthy bum, a baker, a dog - and write a narrative poem in which your character addresses this topic. Let the fact that the poem isn't really about you be freeing.

So here we go again with the P&W prompts... I'll let you know, I'm not a poet. I'll do my best to follow the prompt and I'll even take it's advice - my character is going to be a dog. A dog with human thoughts, because I don't speak dog and can't translate it for you.


Dog Days

"What's wrong with it?"
"Mommy, why doesn't the doggy want to play?"
"I don't like it, Carletta. What if it goes after one of the kids?"

Their questions of concern fly around me,
not really thinking, not really wanting
to know the answers to the riddle. I'm a dog
and that is all they want me to be

but I'm not their dog. They didn't ask me
where I came from or how I got there.
They weren't told that the person I loved
has died, is gone, will never rub my ears
ever again.

"Did you ask the shelter?"
"It was a transfer - they didn't know anything."
"I'm worried. Sometimes she snaps when you touch her."

They weren't told that I wasn't fed for days,
that when they found the body I was ignored,
not even thought of, tied there and left.
The kid next door kicked me. I was already down.

They don't ask me what I'm dreaming about
when I bite down on the bedding and kick.
They just get annoyed when I howl at night,
looking for a soft hand on my head.

The Rottweiler at the metal fence just barks angrily
and the German short-hair at the white fence tells me
all these humans are depressed - they never play,
but then they should get it, shouldn't they?


As always - comments welcome!

3 comments:

Colin said...

You know? I do get it, I really do.

I want to say something about this piece, about how there are times when the suffering brought on by depression almost seems noble from the outside, especially when it comes to grieving. Then I think about how so many people are troubled just by the thought of someone dying, and then I think about how people are troubled by even less than that.

I know what it is like to be depressed and suffer from its effects. I know it is not something you simply cast off and move on from; it is much more complicated than that.

What really struck me in this poem was the last stanza. I have been all of these breeds. I have barked angrily at Existence, and I have looked confusedly upon others who seem to wallow in despair...seem to, but then I have to wonder about that, too. Finally, I have been the sorrowful hound lying at its master's side to the bitter end, watching as others point and comment at my strange behaviors. I understand.

I guess I had a lot to say on this piece after all.

Erica M. said...

Wow. I don't know what to say. It really spoke to me. I'm going to pet my dog now.

Jack said...

I often wonder what dogs think.

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