This past Saturday, the poem Mercies by Don Paterson appeared in the Guardian Newspaper, it is a well constructed sonnet about having a dog ‘put down’, as they say.
‘She might have had months left of her dog-years,
but to be who? She’d grown light as a nest…’
to read the rest of Patterson’s 14 line sonnet, follow this link
The relationship between humans and other animals is a complicated one, we come together, create partnerships and affections as powerful sometimes as we do with our own species. At times we find ourselves confronting what Nietzche called “nature’s will to power’. Where the essence of life itself not only seeks to survive, but also to dominate.
In response to Paterson, I have written what might be a dialogue, much as there is a vogue in print media to publish the correspondence of two writers who consider the same subject from different perspectives.
the poet laments – as poets will
the power of life to live beyond it’s means
meaning death and, having mastery of means
over dogs if not quite life unlike
the poet’s mother say, his best friend, it’s years
are marked more quickly in human eyes
and when the fits of age – the limp, the growth,
the mutterings and slower spasms
give off signs that the speed of living
cannot slow enough and so no longer can abided be
a dog must alone abide with needle plunged
into life’s long stare as it ebbs away
to become at last poetic words
a lifelong friend’s unlonged for undecided end.
m. dunlop, October 26th, 2015
What are your thoughts? Not only on the poetry, those are welcome, but on the subject matter as well. Is it caring to end suffering, or could it be an aspect of life’s will to power? Is good always good, or only in the eye of the beholder? What’s your experience?
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