Some Dogs of the Poets:
Lord Byron’s Boatswain; Emily Brontë’s Keeper;
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Flush;
Emily Dickinson’s Carlo; Thomas Hardy’s Wessex
Reading lives of the poets—
Books by eminent scholars—
I learned that many owned dogs
Before flea-killing collars.
Never once in the pages
Of those biographies
Were readers ever informed
Such poets were nibbled by fleas.
Yes, in the sacred chambers
Where deathless verse was written,
Many of those writing
Were often badly bitten.
Ah, where the poets wrote lines
That live in the world unmatched,
More than paper by pen
Could be heard being scratched.
Pet-owning poets in our day
Vet-freed from parasitics,
Still feel themselves infested—
Circled by buzzing critics.
Dr. Johnson’s cat was Hodge; Christopher
Smart’s was Jeoffrey, and the nameless Monk’s
was Pangur Bán. They also had fleas.
The Critic died. His Essays grieved.
The Poet’s Poems? They felt relieved.
Anthony Harrington, exiled from Philadelphia to Alpharetta, Georgia, continues to waste his declining years writing stuff that sometimes scans and often rhymes. His collection, From the Attic: Selected Verse, 1965-2015, with 230 plus verses, is being held captive by Amazon. Please ransom a copy or two.