Sunday 30 November 2014

New Poem: Dogs

My friend said, ‘Don’t buy a dog from a pet shop.’

I said, ‘OK.’

He said, ‘Good one.’

I said, ‘Actually I wasn’t thinking of buying a dog.’

A few days later I thought I wasn’t thinking of buying

a dog but if I was thinking of buying a dog, where

would I go if I was?’

My friend had gone to see his relatives in Germany

but I was in the queue at the post office when I

heard a conversation behind me. It was two women.

One of them had a dog.

‘I got him at a refuge.’

‘Is he clean?’

‘Not really.’

I found the address of a dog refuge. It was in the

woods off the motorway. The dogs were in cages.

As I walked past, they came up to the fence and

looked at me. One of them seemed to be laughing

at me. I stopped at another one and looked very

closely at it. Some kind of mongrel. A bit sheepdog.

A bit labrador. It said, ‘There’s not much point in

getting me. I won’t come.’

‘Do you get a choice in the matter?’ I said.

‘Try me,’ it said.

‘No, no,’ I said, ‘I’m really not into forcing anyone to

do anything. I’m not even sure I want a dog.’

‘Really? It’s not our job to help you work out your

hang-ups about dogs, you know,’ it said.

‘Yes. No. That’s right. I wasn’t working out anything.’

It went on looking at me very closely.

‘Are you that poet who does the Waitrose adverts?’

‘No,’ I said, ‘that’s not me.’

‘Out of interest,’ I said, ‘why wouldn’t you come with

me, if I really wanted you to be my dog?’

‘You said it just there,’ it said, ’in here I’m part of

something bigger than me. All you can talk about

is “me and my dog”...”my dog and me”...”what I want,

what I don’t want”.’

‘I could make it bigger than that. When I walk through

the park in the morning, there’s a meet-up place where

dog people all get together with their dogs.’

‘Same old crap,’ it said, ‘“we only meet because the

people want to meet”.’

‘Not good?’ I said.

‘In here, we have a strong sense of being in something


‘You are. You’re in here together,’ I said.

I had a feeling that that wasn’t the right thing to say. The

dog turned round and walked off to the back of the cage.