As if dogs who don’t run away are dumb or ill
or need therapists, if they could talk they would tell us
how every shock is a step to master the skill,
they could teach us the art of being wise,
the art of knowing what to overlook,
the genuine giving up of freedom fantasies,
they could teach us the philosophy of the letting go
of loved ones outside the fences, dogs who look docile
on a daily basis have mastered the art of digression,
they know it’s less a condensation than a loss,
William James praised it as a progress, I mean isn’t it wise
to digress into figments or songs or galaxies
and give up retrieving things after you cross?
Suppose you run away, I did it once, you get capsized
and trapped by the incursion of the waves around
empty boats, seaweeds inside your lungs enough to realise
it’s either breath or cough, to hell with the shore,
to hell with…for God’s sake just breathe and cough, breathe and cough!
The next day you behave and say ‘Morning’ to John from
next door and listen to Radio 4 and settle for dying by average shocks,
by knocks, by watching the torrent of ‘We visited you
but you weren’t at home’ cards invading through the hole.