Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lament of the redneck dog

For years I sat, watching the rusty trucks go by
Woof-woofing at the clopping horses
Wagg-wagging, So happy to see you!
Growling at those strangers, one every other day
And when you let me off that chain,
Scrap-scrap-scrapping
with the neighbour dog, that insolent mutt
or chasing the cows, until they chased me back
with their angry moos and piercing hooves.
Then I scurried under the porch and stayed there
until you came home and lovingly, sweetly
coaxed me out.

But now, oh now, oh how
you want to make of me a city dog
a posh dog, a preening dog of pure-blood;
of distinction, poise and confidence.
One who can watch cats prance by with disdain,
not even dreaming of making them scatter
and leap yowling into a tree.
One who would never lunge at a chattering squirrel
or get bloodied in a brawl.
One who knows the meaning of Dog Parks,
doo-doo bags and civilized Sunday strolls,
dog salons, grooming clippers and clothes.

Clothes? Yes, clothes, clothes for dogs
though they hardly make them in my size.

Oh still, I dream of Woof-woof-woofing
at the horses, and you must notice how
my feet twitch and my mouth moves just a little,
but I want you to be pleased with me,
so I keep my dreams inside.
And still, I am so happy to see you!
I Wagg-wagg in a domestic way, trying
not to knock you down or send things flying.
I try to remember what it is you want of me,
what makes your voice soft and complimentary.
I try to be what you need of me,
and yet, in the end, I am still just me,
once and always a redneck dog.

Rachel Westfall
March 10, 2009


A sister poem: Ode to a skanky mutt

11 comments:

Faith said...

:) Love the way you can get right into the perspective of a dog:) My old dog lived with me out in the country (she was a stray at first) and she had all the freedom of country living for her first 3 years -- and then we moved to town:( Leashes and all! She and I both had a hard time not chasing things anymore -- She was with me for 17 years. What a dog she was! Your poem made me think of her and how bewildered she was at first at the sidewalks, the leash and the pooper scooping, etc...:)

Poetikat said...

By coincidence, we're watching a program hosted by a British actor (Martin Clunes) who is tracing back to the dog's roots in wolves and dingoes.
This poem is great. You've really got inside the dog's head.

Kat

Robert said...

give me the old redneck dog anytime..I loved this..:)

Woman in a Window said...

Oh dear, why do I come away from this sad? Why do we do this of our dogs and one another? Quick, cracking the gate. Out! OUT! GO!

loved this.

Karen said...

This reminds me so much of my sister's dog. She moved to the city last year, and her dog, who was used to running free and chasing foxes and squirrels, now waits for the dog walker! My sis tells us he's taken to city life quite well; I think he has no choice. :-(

Aleksandra said...

What thoes that mean REDNECK?

Fat Arse said...

Gee, 'redneck-dog' reminds me a lot of my younger self when I first moved to big city from the north - met a girl who insisted on refining my rough edges and dressing me up too before she took me out in public. In time, my true nature prevailed. I rebelled against the designer jeans, trendy haircuts and Birken-shoe-somethings. Thankfully, went our separate ways.

As I re-read the poem, it seems the only difference between 'redneck dog' and guy like me is that the canine doesn't appear to drink beer! Hmmm, maybe that's why the wife keeps me on such a tight leash? Maybe I am just a dog in a man's body?

RachelW said...

Thank you all! :) You are so right, us or the dogs, there's not much difference. We are all happiest in our element, but we so very much want to please!

Aleksandra, it's essentially a country-person. There's a bit more to it than that; it's sort of the opposite of someone who is posh and refined.

Catvibe said...

I love the way you get inside the dog's sweet head. It is hard to watch our animals get old isn't it? They are so good to us. Beautiful poem Rachel. Makes me want to go hug my kitty. :-)

joker the lurcher said...

my two are both redneck dogs - i despair of them ever being refined in any way!

RachelW said...

Cat, yes please do hug that kitty!

Joker, thanks for the visit. My two canine housemates are most definitely redneck dogs, too.