Last week I talked about choosing love poems to read at a local event. In the end, I think I found nine short pieces that I ran together to produce a story of a kind, which seemed to go down reasonably well.
One of them has a dog in it, albeit unseen and at a distance, so makes a good piece to include in this first blog post of the new Year of the Dog.
Familiar 5 a.m.
rain on the roof,
a distant car,
and weight of cat
curled at my feet.
I’ve noted before that I don’t have many poems with dogs in, but I hadn’t realised till now that quite a few of the ones I do have also involve night-time and the moon.
Still, the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar and the Chinese New Year is commonly referred to as the Lunar New Year, so perhaps that makes these next two pieces even more appropriate.
The bland-faced moon skates tangentially across
a pool of indigo. She climbs the cambered sky
to run the gauntlet of the stars. Slowly, she unbuttons
and removes kid gloves, dropping them
without a second thought behind a dumpster
where they will be found next morning
by an old man exercising an Irish wolfhound.
Later that same night, she stoops to look through
your bedroom window. With nicotine-stained fingers
she pushes aside the net curtains of the clouds and vainly
strains to see her reflection in your eyes. The wind
shushes the trees, listening for a whisper of your voice.
Later still, the wolfhound stirs in his kennel as the sun
lumbers into readiness below the horizon.
The unemployed moon could get
a decent job if she wanted. Kennelmaid
to the stars, perhaps, walking them
across the moleskin waistcoat
of the night to cock their legs at trees
whose roots enamel sideways. She could
deliver letters, unwritten
in bold ink, to half-dismantled villages.
But it would probably rain.
So, instead, she loiters, thinking
her insignificant morning thoughts
and reading poems
from the title upwards.
The final picture is, of course, not a dog, but it is a dogwood flower, which will have to do for today.