English poetry

Poems in English

Homer's Seeing-Eye Dog

Most of the time he worked, a sort of sleep
With a purpose, so far as I could tell.
How he got from the dark of sleep
To the dark of waking up I’ll never know;
The lax sprawl sleep allowed him
Began to set from the edges in,
Like a custard, and then he was awake,
Me too, of course, wriggling my ears
While he unlocked his bladder and stream
Of dopey wake-up jokes. The one
About the wine-dark pee I hated instantly.
I stood at the ready, like a god
In an epic, but there was never much
To do. Oh now and then I’d make a sure
Intervention, save a life, whatever.
But my exploits don’t interest you
And of his life all I can say is that
When he’d poured out his work
The best of it was gone and then he died.
He was a great man and I loved him.
Not a whimper about his sex life
How I detest your prurience
But here’s a farewell literary tip:
I myself am the model for Penelope.
Don’t snicker, you hairless moron,
I know so well what faithful means
There’s not even a word for it in Dog,
I just embody it. I think you bipeds
Have a catchphrase for it: “To thine own self
Be true, . . .” though like a blind man’s shadow,
The second half is only there for those who know
It’s missing. Merely a dog, I’ll tell you
What it is: ” . . . as if you had a choice.”

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Poem Homer's Seeing-Eye Dog - William Matthews