Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Before You Cut Loose by Simon Armitage

Before You Cut Loose,

                                            put dogs on the list 
of difficult things to lose. Those dogs ditched 
on the North York Moors or the Sussex Downs 
or hurled like bags of sand from rented cars 
have followed their noses to market towns 
and bounced like balls into their owners’ arms. 
I heard one story of a dog that swam 
to the English coast from the Isle of Man, 
and a dog that carried eggs and bacon 
and a morning paper from the village 
surfaced umpteen leagues and two years later, 
bacon eaten but the eggs unbroken, 
newsprint dry as tinder, to the letter. 
A dog might wander the width of the map 
to bury its head in its owner’s lap, 
crawl the last mile to dab a bleeding paw 
against its own front door. To die at home, 
a dog might walk its four legs to the bone. 
You can take off the tag and the collar 
but a dog wears one coat and one colour. 
A dog got rid of—that’s a dog for life. 
No dog howls like a dog kicked out at night. 
Try looking a dog like that in the eye.

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