Wednesday, 23 February 2011

beautiful poem about a dog

I've just been reading a copy of the 30th anniversary edition of the literary magazine Going Down Swinging and I was moved by a poem by Chloe Wilson about the chained dog who died in the volcanic eruption that buried Pompeii.

When an exhibition about the lost city of Pompeii came to Melbourne in July 2009, I was saddened by that cast of the dog's body.

[Photo by Wknight94]

I think it would be okay to reproduce here some of the lines from the poem. If you can get a copy of the anniversary edition of Going Down Swinging you will be able to read the whole beautiful poem. In part it says:

it's the brass
collared dog
who's most articulate-

through its contortion
we can see the cloud advance,
the sulphur exhaust expanding
and another couple of stanzas...
does the dog not seem to suggest

that while we may be
overwhelmed, it's still worth flipping
ourselves inside out,

or sticking up our defenceless paws-
anything, anything that proves we tried
to hold the fire back.
The line about the 'defenceless paws' really gets to me. Our pets are so vulnerable to how we treat them. And there have been so many terrible events around Australia and around the world, and I always wonder how many animals are caught up in these disasters.


curator said...

That cast always makes me particularly sad, too. The few lines of the poem you quoted have brought tears to my eyes.

parlance said...

Curator, I was thinking of you when I posted it. So sad.