Why the Dog Wags its Tail

Why the Dog Wags its Tail

Thou art a slave whom Fortune's tender arm / With favour never clasp'd; but bred a dog. Timon of Athens

Original Text

Bruce Meyer, Mesopotamia: New Poems (Sudbury, On.: Your Scrivener Press, 2009): 60.

1 The simple answer is economy.
2 Whenever a moment requires yes,
3 whenever sunlight fills a bouncing ball
4 or a treat is offered as reward,
5 or praise is worthy of the look he gives,
6 good boy wants to dance inside.
7 But he is clever, subtle, knowing
8 and reserved -- he is also cautious
9 because the slightest move
10 might shake the earth or startle birds.
11 He desires the peace you find in souls;
12 he wants your heart to find its God,
13 so he sits because he knows you know
14 the sound of wind when it is sleeping
15 or the sound of a blossom as it fades --
16 he hears all you choose to ignore,
17a pebble tossed in a zen still pool --
18he is keeping time to the eternal still.
19Study him carefully. His tongue is out.
20It is tasting the universe as it all slides by:
21the dog wags because Earth is moving,
22saves his energy for a leap of faith
23when it spins too fast and you must get off.
24He'll go first if you're afraid,
25and he'll stop at nothing to pull you free.
26He knows you better than you know your soul.
27He will not lose you if you lose yourself.
RPO poem Editors
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition
Special Copyright

Copyright (c) Bruce Meyer. Printed by permission of the author. Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from the poet.