English poetry

Poems in English


The man the gun and the dog

yesterday the man was pleased
The sun sat in the tree and all
Upon the land held to the harmony
His coming then expected

his gun in his arm
his dog at his heels

A blackbird sang on a high branch
A white horse ambled by the hedge
A brindled cow munched grass – the man
Shared his heartbeat with them

his gun in his arm
his dog at his heels

Today he was disturbed – a mist
Obscured what grew inside and out
A tree loomed upon him like a threat
His walk had nothing safe about it

a gun in his arm
a dog at his heels

A huge crow shrieked from the tree
Its wings churning the mist
Its beak sharpening for attack
Its claws reaching for the man’s eyes

shoot said the gun
the dog stayed at his heels

The man shot – once – and the crow
Reared backwards from the blast
A thunder cloud dripping red rain
And fell to earth a muted blackbird

good said the gun
the dog stayed at his heels

An elephant (but white as leprosy)
With trunk and tusks upraised crashed
Through the hedge trumpeting and causing
Earth and man to shudder violently

shoot shoot said the gun
the dog stayed at his heels

The man shot – twice – and the beast
Bellowing with a disbelieving pain
Exploded (staining the mist deep red)
And fell to earth an old white horse

good good said the gun
the dog stayed at his heels

A mammoth buffalo brindled and bristling
A taste for death snorting from its snout
Hurtled towards the man – with flecks
Of flesh still hanging from its jaws

shoot shoot shoot said the gun
the dog stayed at his heels

The man shot – thrice – and the monster
Spun round with the savagest of roars
Drenching the landscape in a hot red spray
Then fell to earth a gentle brindled cow

good good good said the gun
the dog barked once

The man stood stunned in the thick mist
Alien to the fields he had known
From his first breath – he comprehended
Nothing but the gun in his hand

shoot shoot shoot shoot said the gun
the dog barked twice

The man shot – four times – and the dog
With not a sound fell to earth
And rolled on its back – its four
Legs sticking stiffly in the air

good good good good said the gun
as the dog lay still

The man looked hard at the dog and saw
An upside down reflection of himself
He hurled the gun (bereft of bullets)
Into a pond – it stuck stock-upwards

the gun reverted to the tree
its wood had come from

the dog was lifted skywards
by invisible cords

The man went on walking – for days the man stood stunned in the thick mist
Alien to the fields he had known
From his first breath – he comprehended
Nothing but the gun in his hand

shoot shoot shoot shoot said the gun
the dog barked twice

The man shot – four times – and the dog
With not a sound fell to earth
And rolled on its back – its four
Legs sticking stiffly in the air

good good good good said the gun
as the dog lay still

The man looked hard at the dog and saw
An upside down reflection of himself
He hurled the gun (bereft of bullets)
Into a pond – it stuck stock-upwards

the gun reverted to the tree
its wood had come from

the dog was lifted skywards
by invisible cords

The man went on walking – for days
Weeks months even till the sun returned –
Loving the mist (its near wisdom
Its light uncompromising touch)

now he is free of the gun
he understands the dog

A blackbird sings in a high branch
A white horse ambles by the hedge
A brindled cow munches grass – the man
Shares his heartbeat with them

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Poem The man the gun and the dog - Rg Gregory
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