Two Poems on Dogs by Peter Hartley

Argos and Odysseus

The Thoughts of a Dog

What actually does go on inside the mind
Of the home dog? To easily say
They think of very little else all day
However consuming what they’re given, what they find
To feed on can be callous and unkind.
Unique among all species is the best way
They keep by selection with us: a dog’s life they
Would say is so a lot better with mankind.

It isn’t merely cupboard love that leads
Their sort to ours. They’d starvation if we halved
Their rations, linger with us if they starved.
Devotion trumps their nature and their needs,
As trustworthy Argos ready twenty years,
Rewarded only with Odysseus’ tears.

The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever is a canine
Who’s ill-disposed to cogitation or
Omphalic contemplation even, for
He finds such lucubration quite a slog.
However moderately than interact in monologue
Or speak with you (for barking’s such a bore)
He’d a lot choose to meditate (and snore)
And ruminate (and slumber like a log).

Though if he had half an opportunity he’d eat
Eight occasions his weight in best cuts of meat
Earlier than he’d answer Hypnos’ weary name,
Or but would yield to Morpheus and fall
In goals for visionary food that’s off
When he might wake and nicely and really scoff.

Peter Hartley is a retired painting restorer. He was born in Liverpool and lives in Manchester, UK.

Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this web site and by commenters do not symbolize the views of your complete Society. The feedback part on regular posts is supposed to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The person poet or author featured in a publish has the power to take away any or all comments by emailing [email protected] with the small print and beneath the topic title “Remove Comment.”

23 Responses

  1. Philip Keefe July 15, 2019

    Thank you on your two excellent dog poems. Though not a dog individual myself I do share a home with a Golden and my associate. I am sometimes thought-about an equal to BeBe. However I’ve pondered many occasions what we imply to canine aside from being providers of shelter and food.
    By the way you launched me to two new phrases in the second poem which made me resort to the dictionary and I respect that.


  2. Peter Hartley July 15, 2019

    Philip – I’m glad to hear you already know who’s first within the pecking order. I too have typically questioned what evokes their devotion (a bit closer to our time than Argos consider Bullseye in Oliver Twist). Thanks for the type remarks.


  3. C.B. Anderson July 15, 2019

    Guys, canine are one thing, but don’t try to rhyme “un-KIND” with “MAN-kind. When will you putative Anglophones ever study? Peter, this is not your greatest work, and might be thrown to the canine. Sorry, but that’s how I see it.


    • Christina July 15, 2019

      Sorry C. B. Anderson, however in English English the word in question is pronounced manKIND. Examine the standard authoritative sources and even U-tube renditions! This reminds me of the destiny of ice-CREAM because it was appropriately pronounced over here until pretty lately when instantly, everywhere in the land, it turned ICE-cream. TV has quite a bit to answer for!


      • C.B. Anderson July 16, 2019

        Christina, my authoritative sources ( incuding THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY) help my pronunciation, the place the stress is on the first syllable of “mankind.” It does permit for a pronunciation the place each syllables are equally burdened, however there isn’t any justification for placing an accent on the second syllable. Just take a look at the word: “Mankind” just isn’t shaped the best way through which “ice cream” is shaped. Anyway, I’ve all the time (for seventy years, virtually) pronounced it ICE cream,” for otherwise “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” wouldn’t work.

      • Christina July 17, 2019

        C. B. Anderson, I don’t know where it will pop up on the page, however thanks for introducing me to yet one more dictionary of American English. Nevertheless neither it nor some other dictionary of English (American or British) places the stress of mankind on the primary syllable. Merriam-Webster does give a 3rd definition of the phrase to imply mankind versus womankind, and in this case solely the stress is on the primary syllable.

      • C.B. Anderson July 17, 2019

        Christina, put on your magnifiers and look extra intently. The stress is strictly the place I stated it was, and Webster concurs.

    • Peter Hartley July 16, 2019

      CBA – I’m sorry you didn’t like this submission as I do have a terrific respect in your opinion. And it’s an excellent pity that a blunder of the nature you found above can utterly spoil any experience for the potential reader, because it did with the only lacking foot oversight (and it was indeed merely an oversight, however that is no excuse by any means) that wrecked the reception of a collection of 5 poems about my grandfather and the Great Conflict. I was carried away on cloud nine with the accolades I acquired with my first few verses for the Society and thought I had finally found my metier fairly late in life. Maybe it was only cloud-cuckoo-land I had found. But I shall soldier on till my subscription is due for renewal after which I shall “consider my position” as we are saying (nicely, as we Brits say, anyway). And thank you, within the meantime, in your constructive feedback (and occasional compliments) over the past eighteen months or so.


      • Peter Hartley July 16, 2019

        Sorry, I mean the final SIX months or so (though it has seemed longer).

      • C.B. Anderson July 17, 2019

        Peter, don’t get me incorrect. Upon re-reading I found much to love about these dog poems, however I are likely to focus on particular gadgets that catch in my craw. Your work, general, is splendid, and I very much hope that I will get to jump throughout your ass or slather praise within the day they turned man’s greatest pal, for now and for years to return. Dogs are very peculiar in that they type robust attachments to humans. I want that somebody would write a poem concerning the first man to tame a wolf. I’m unsure why canine put up with us, but till they don’t they remain man’s greatest pal. Horses are available second place.

  4. James A. Tweedie July 16, 2019

    Peter, I just lately watched a powerful sundown on the Isle of Barra within the Outer Hebrides. Though I used to be in one among most remoted places in Western Europe there occurred to be an electric wire instantly between me and the setting solar. For a quick second it turned a distraction, spoiling the in any other case good scene. Few issues in life are good. Few issues are beyond criticism or improvement. I’ve not often submitted a poem to this website where my attention was not drawn to an ignored error or the place I was not provided a suggestion for enchancment. I have discovered to take all this in stride. C.B. will be the most crucial and blunt of the lot but at the very least he’s trustworthy, and while I want he was more tactful and sensitive of people’s feelings, he is a vital a part of SCP and I not only welcome his feedback however look ahead to his submissions, which frequently strategy the perfection he calls for from everybody else! Since falling into this website some two years in the past I have been challenged to improve and increase my talent as a poet. I have additionally discovered to first acknowledge when I have created a small masterpiece in verse after which to smile when someone else lets an electrical wire distract them from enjoying the great thing about my sunset. As on your two poems, I feel they are fantastic. You rose to the problem of composing not one, but two Petrarchan sonnets. As a bonus, you included artistic wordplay, humor, and clever vocabulary to add spice to the tales you got down to inform. Sooner or later down the road I’ll offer you a bit of constructive criticism, however not immediately. You write properly. Your Muse is on hearth. Keep up the great work and hold on sharing it with us.


  5. Mark Stone July 16, 2019


    1. I’m undoubtedly a dog individual, and I loved each poems very a lot.

    2. I utterly agree with what James Tweedie stated. To conclude that you must stop writing as a result of a small blemish was found on one among your poems is unthinkable to me. You might have nice talent as a poet, and the SCP website is made better by the publication of your poems. My vote is for you to maintain on producing your wonderful work.

    3. The SCP web site lately introduced a Workshop section on the location. In the event you (or anybody) want to have a draft poem critiqued before you submit it for publication, you may publish the draft there. Up to now only eight poems have been submitted for critique, and I am the only one who has offered comments on the draft poems. Nevertheless, my hope is that extra individuals will achieve this, as they turn out to be conscious of the Workshop part. Also, to make my evaluation of the poems extra structured, final Saturday I created a 10-point guidelines to make use of when evaluating the poems. I used the guidelines on the poem I reviewed last Saturday, and I’ll use it in the future.

    As I see it, use of the Workshop has three benefits. First, poets will see fewer criticisms of their poems after they’re revealed. Second, a well-scrubbed poem has a better probability of being accepted for publication. Third, the publication of higher poems on the SCP website will additional improve the web site’s fame.


    • Peter Hartley July 17, 2019

      Mark – Thank you very much certainly on your generous remarks on my little dog poems and I’m glad to listen to that you simply appreciated them, and much more glad that you simply like canine. Your words, echoing what James has stated, I find very encouraging indeed. It does appear an ideal pity, if we try to do our greatest, to have a poem rubbished for the sake of a carelessly dropped or supernumerary foot when it is often so easy to right such a fault before submission. In the current occasion though I’m afraid I was too quick to admit to a fault that doesn’t exist (it have to be some sort of guilt complicated). The offending word, “mankind”, as Christina has identified, is appropriately pronounced with the stress on the second syllable in each British and American English, and I have found six totally different authoritative dictionaries to prove it, aside from the aural evidence I have gleaned from the internet. So it appears as if “blemish” it isn’t and by no means was. I find your phrases, like James’s, very encouraging certainly, nevertheless, and if your workshop will assist to stop my making a few of the stupid blunders I have made up to now, I shall definitely give it a go. Thank you for the invitation, and thank you as soon as again in your type remarks.


  6. Peter Hartley July 16, 2019

    James – That was precisely the fillip I needed. Thanks. I too had a type of moments like yours en path to Barra from Eriskay the last time I went, in Might 2008, with our little cocker spaniel. It was a type of events we all keep in mind (and we don’t know why we keep in mind) for the remainder of our lives. The dog was sitting on a type of floating benches with me on the upper deck of the ferry-boat and he simply seemed so proud to be alive and proud, dare I say it, to be with me. The poem I wrote about it turned the title verse for a bit e-book of poems that I had revealed almost ten years later: the canine is long lifeless.

    We typically do recall the oddest issues.
    Why ought to it’s so crystal clear that day
    Ten years in the past, a canine with me, off Eriskay,
    Aboard a ship and Barra sure? It brings
    To mind the rain, the wind nonetheless sings and stings
    And tears in gusts across the sound the best way
    It did, whereas gulls hold pace above the spray
    On imperturbable and static wings.

    Such moments unregarded in his prime,
    They appeared inconsequential at the time.
    The canine, so proud to be alive and when
    He was he lived the here and now, however then
    He questioned not the continuity
    Of life, the permanence of him and me.

    (You’ll discover line three has an extra foot.) Once I began this comment I meant sooner or later to have an enormous grouse about SCP and sure members thereof, however a response to your variety publish is hardly the suitable car. As an alternative I should wish to level out a number of the good. There are various people, indeed, who won’t contribute until they have one thing type to say or a constructive criticism that’s kindly put, amongst whom I need to quantity Amy Foreman as an excellent instance. There are some who, if they’ve a criticism to make, will put it so gently that it’s learn and almost forgotten however virtually subliminally taken on board. I quantity you in that class. I keep in mind someone making an attempt to mock Monty as a result of he might not have had a university schooling, however Monty seems to have more sense than the rest of us put together. I keep in mind once being unreasonably disgruntled with Dr Salemi for apparently making mild of my very own intelligence by remarking that it took me a full three days to answer to considered one of his feedback. The rationale for the delayed response is because I am a full-time carer for a companion affected by a distressing terminal illness, and never as a result of the world revolves around Dr Salemi, but Dr Salemi couldn’t probably have recognized this and my judgment was unfair.

    This society might do and does so much good with Evan Mantyk at the helm, however might achieve this far more without all of the cat-fighting and bitchiness and point-scoring. The Society needs more individuals like you. And lots of many thanks for the type remarks which I shall definitely keep in mind. And I wish I had your charity.


    • James A. Tweedie July 16, 2019

      Truly, Peter, I did not notice the extra foot. I was too busy enjoying the great thing about the poem along with the reminiscence of my own ferry journey from Eriskay to Barra a number of weeks in the past (without, nevertheless, a canine with whom to share the expertise). I’ve lately submitted to SCP a set of sonnets written during my current sojourn in Ireland and the Western Isles. There’s one sonnet set on Harris/Lewis and, if Evan agrees to incorporate it, Barra can be represented by a track written within the type of a Scottish air. I thought of you sometimes during my journey, particularly as I retraced your steps in places you so movingly captured in your poetry. As for charity, on several occasions my spouse has kindly prevented me from pushing the “send” button on my own SCP rants–rants which, consequently, by no means found their approach into the comments area! Typically it’s best to rely to ten . . . or twenty . . . or thirty before jumping off a cliff! All one of the best.


      • Peter Hartley July 17, 2019

        James – You wouldn’t consider how relieved I’m that you simply didn’t notice that supernumerary iambus! I don’t know when you acquired as far south as Vatersay if you visited Barra. I needed to get there by ferry-boat on my visit in 1971 as a toddler but it’s now related by causeway to the “mainland”. It was the scene, in 1853, of the worst peacetime maritime catastrophe in British history. There isn’t any evidence remaining past a small, tired-looking obelisk despite the fact that 350 bodies are buried within the sand spherical about, nevertheless it inspired one other little poem which I have just lately pestered Evan with. I do hope he publishes yours, and I’m intrigued by this Scottish air you’ve written. All the perfect together with your poeticising!

      • James A. Tweedie July 17, 2019

        I did take the opportunity to drive throughout the causeway to Vatersay. I didn’t see the obelisk you mention but did see a more modern interpretive signal (it might have been a plaque) that described the tragedy in some element.

  7. Peter Hartley July 17, 2019

    James – you seem to have acquired a very great distance in a very brief time, whereas managing to write down poetry too! Vatersay’s as far south as you will get, in fact, with out going on a particular journey. If you look cross the sea in the direction of the tip of the chain their remoteness makes it arduous to consider that Mingulay was completely occupied till 1912. I wrote a poem concerning the wreck of the Annie Jane
    on Vatersay however gained’t publish it just in case Evan does.


  8. James A. Tweedie July 17, 2019

    I climbed partway up Mt. Heaval (the tallest peak on Barra instantly above Castlebay) and gained an exquisite view past Vatersay to Mingulay and factors south. It was a clear day but closely overcast so the scene appeared like a black and white picture on an previous TV set. I didn’t know that there had been individuals dwelling there as lately as 1912. Fascinating.


    • Peter Hartley July 17, 2019

      James – In 1971, and I feel 1973, I clambered over almost every point within the Outer Hebrides over 1000 ft above sea degree. This included Heaval and neighbouring Ben Tangaval whence, as you say,there are beautiful views of the southernmost isles of the Outer Hebrides. In case you also went to the Uists, from the summits of Eaval, Hecla and Ben Extra you may need seen, as I’ve many occasions, the isles of Boreray and Hirta of the St Kilda group over 40 miles to the west. They have been completely occupied for a number of thousand years until 1930 once they have been finally evacuated. And 43 miles NW of the Scottish mainland (Cape Wrath) is the tiny isle of North Rona which is the remotest part of the UK that has EVER been permanently occupied. It was deserted in 1844. About 200 miles west of Scotland is the tiny seventy-foot-high blackened granite tooth of Rockall which might be probably the most remoted piece of rock, for its measurement, on the planet. I feel trawlermen are the one people who ever see it!


      • James A.Tweedie July 18, 2019

        I needed to lookup Ben Tangaval and found that I had a stunning image of it with the small loch with the islet with the ruins of a small tower on it in the foreground. I clambered around as a lot as I was in a position on my journey, climbing Ben Nevis (which almost killed me . . . in the clouds, sleeting with three inches of snow at the prime), then up, down, in, out, and across the Quiraing on Skye, and on Barra, the lower slopes of Heaval, a scramble up a hill overlooking Brevig Bay to see a neolithic standing stone, and a slimy uphill trek by means of sodden bogs to a neolithic chamber tomb (referred to as Dun Bharpa) in the western inside of Barra, a tomb neatly triangulated east, west and south with the three highest peaks seen from that spot. Again in 1971 and 1973 I might have executed it a lot better! At 68, out of practice, and obese, I am still stunned that I was capable of do any of it at all last month!. This is a part of what life is all about, isn’t it, build up a set of excellent reminiscences peppered with self-satisfying accomplishments, particularly in our youth. Peter, I’m glad that we will share a few of these things and that we’ve got been been lucky enough to have discovered the poetry in them. With Evan’s type cooperation, I hope to see your Vatersay poem on the SCP website quickly.

  9. Peter Hartley July 18, 2019

    And yours, and I hope chances are you’ll proceed travelling to distant areas of the world and getting as a lot out of it as you do. Come to think about it not many Glaswegians have been to Barra.


    • Christina July 18, 2019

      C. B. Anderson, I write in response to this one in every of yours above:

      “Christina, put on your magnifiers and look more closely. The stress is exactly where I said it was, and Webster concurs”.

      The unique argument was towards your very strongly expressed declare that the poet was incorrect to rhyme ‘unkind’ with ‘mankind’. Quite the opposite, I identified, as a speaker of ‘English English’ he was right to take action. Over here we are saying ‘manKIND’, and never ‘MANkind’. This raised an fascinating level, I assumed, for the SCP, the place allowances for such differences ought to be made.

      Nevertheless you claimed that:

      “…there is no justification for putting an accent on the second syllable” (!)

      I checked your American Heritage Dictionary and found the stress to certainly be given as you claimed, however it did not distinguish, as other dictionaries do, between manKIND, which means humanity, and MANkind as distinct from womankind. Merriam-Webster does not concur – it places main stress marks for both parts in the definition, which is truthful sufficient in a compound word ĺike this, but the accompanying audio leaves one in little question that the American English pronunciation, in line with MW, stresses the second syllable. Do please lend it an ear.

      As for ‘English English’ dictionaries, while the place of the primary stress indicator varies, they all agree on manKIND.

      So pleàse, CBA, minimize our Brit poets a bit of slack, and, no offence taken and none in fact meant, I ALWAYS put on my magnifiers ‘cos I have superior AMD!!


This website makes use of Akismet to scale back spam. Find out how your remark knowledge is processed.