Saturday, March 21, 2009

Week Three

by Michelle Taylor

Have you watched a dog at night
dreaming at your feet?
No, it isn't just asleep!
When its eyelids grow heavy
and its breathing too,
then your dog is running
away from you
to the world of its wildest dreams.

You may try to guess
where it goes, but remember -
it's only the dog
that truly knows
when it twitches its whiskers
or flashes a fang,
when it growls
or whimpers
or its paws hit the floor
with a BANG!

Is it living a nightmare
or fulfilling a fantasy?
Have you wondered
where doggy heaven might be?
Maybe your dog's escaped
to a yard that's full of bones
or perhaps your pet's a person
and you've been locked out
of your home!
What if your dog's
become a pure bred hound
that fusses over food
and sleeps on the lounge,
or perhaps a sheep-dog
working for its keep.

I wonder though
if the greatest dog dream
is drifting back in time:
reunited with wild ancestors -
dingo, wolf, coyote.
Hunting its prey
sleeping on dirt or snow,
howling beneath a full moon,
knowing what only dogs know...

This poem is from If Bees Rode Shiny Bicycles (UQP, 2003).

Michelle says: The idea for The Dreams of Dogs came from growing up with a bevy of dogs. We always owned at least one, but neighbours' dogs were welcome at our place too, as my Mum was a great dog-lover. I loved watching our dogs asleep at my feet at night. They could be so restless - twitching their noses, revealing their fangs, whimpering or muffled woofing, paws going and clawing away at the carpet, even their tails wagging. It occurred to my for the first time back then as a child, that dogs must dream, just like humans. I let my imagination go when it came to writing this poem, and had a lot of fun wondering just what kinds of things dogs might dream about...

About Michelle Taylor: "I'm passionate about poetry and its potential to bring some magic into our lives. I believe that poetry can allow both young and old to express themselves more fully, and to appreciate themselves and the world around them with new wonder. I want those I work with to go away feeling two things – firstly energised, and secondly, empowered by words and their endless possibilities in our lives."
Michelle's books include If Bees Rode Shiny Bicycles and If the World Belonged to Dogs.

Writing Exercise: What do you think your pet dreams about when it's asleep? Or an animal in the bush, like a kangaroo? Write a poem that answers this question!

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