It’s a game I play, substituting “dog” for crucial nouns in famous poems. “So much depends upon a red dog, glazed with rainwater beside the white chickens…” That’s a good dog. He keeps an eye on the hens. He might eat them of course but he’s loyal to his woman who stands outside our field of view. I think she wears a dress printed with sunflowers. I think it’s summer. So much depends upon that dog, her dog, her red dog.
“A dog has how many stars, they asked me in Paris, and I, wolf by wolf, began to observe the solar system…” (Forgive me Neruda, you wrote of cats…you wrote: “a star is the tail of a cat bristled in the sky”—pretty good my friend, pretty damned good.) But dogs do not bristle among stars, for they are the stars, infinite, unexplored, and more loyal than men can know.
“Let us go then you and I, when the dog is howling at the sky…”
“Oh Me! what eyes hath dog put in my head which have no correspondence with true sight…”
“The murmur of a dog, a witchcraft yieldeth me…”
I’ve always liked this homely diversion. There’s nobility to it. Some know. Best of all the dogs, the true dogs, sleeping by windows dark, do not care.