Looking after my son and daughter-in-law’s dogs while they are on honeymoon. Understandably, they are wondering what’s going on and while they’re good-natured enthusiasts for walks and any kind of action, they are being incredibly needy for attention! It’s impossible to get on with anything without an inquisitive nose trying to poke into the grill while you’re making toast, under your elbow between you and the keyboard….. At the moment Briar is fetching shoes. This, no doubt, is a suggestion that a walk would be in order. They’re German short-haired pointers, tall, hound-style dogs with a greyhound’s hindquarters and very fleet of foot, and it’s impossible to tire them out. One is four and the other a youngster of five months. In between shoes Briar has been fetching egg-boxes – as her mistress keeps chickens, this is probably trying to prompt me to go out and collect the eggs. Any excuse to rush about out of doors! Sadly for her, I don’t have chickens so her suggestion has fallen on stony soil.
This is a poem about the adult dog, in the days before they had the young one, and they were going on holiday. That time she did go with them – this time, she really has had to stay behind, but she is not so worried as she has her sidekick Briar constantly at her heels.
The brown dog and the child are in the car a long time
The car is full of stuff.
Even the brown dog’s place in the boot under the back window.
The little child, strapped in her seat, throws her Comfy lamb on the floor, fretfully.
The brown dog circles the car, full of worry.
There is no room in the car. No room for dog.
No room and she senses they are all going away.
The brown dog knew when they all got up very early
that there was an Atmosphere, a hurry, excitement,
something is happening but what? Then they filled the car with bags
dog can smell food and she can smell rubber and sunscreen
and the little child peeing in her clean nappy already, and sweat, tense sharp sweat,
they are going away, dog is sure, there is no room for dog!
Desperate, she decides she will run after the car.
Dog can run very fast, she will follow them.
She will hide and not allow herself to be shut in the house.
Her tail is between her legs, she quivers, she noiselessly sneaks to a spot by the gate.
Ready to leap to a gallop when the car goes past.
Worrying that the car is too fast and she – no, she will run!
She will keep up!
They are shouting for her. She quivers. She needs to obey.
Shivering, she skulks towards her mistress.
The car door is open! “In you go, in the back!”
The brown dog dives among legs and packages
she can just fit, tail curled tightly, next to the little child’s carseat.
The brown dog is happy. Her jaws smile.
Her tail has no room to wag but her rear switches slightly.
She is in the car with her mistress and the master and the little child
for a long time, a long long time, but
dog is so happy she was not left behind, they are all together.
She spends hours separating, identifying smells in the car
and looking out of the window, beyond the carseat.
Dog’s keen eyes check the places that fly past,
looking particularly for rabbits.