new zealand electronic poetry centre

B E R N A D E T T E    H A L L


An Elegy for a Small Dog

Chloe, you’ve peed on more famous
feet than any other dog I’ve ever known,
and most of them literary. Even inside
Michael Harlow’s leather briefcase
where Heraclitus was still arguing
with Democritus, better to laugh
than to cry, wouldn’t you say,
now that you’ve sprouted wings
and flown away with all those other
ochre-fanged Rennaissance angels.
You tore up the precious project,
you whirled and growled like a mad aunt,
you twisted away from a quick slap,
you tried to throttle the hose-snake.
You grew fat on cashew nuts, chocolate
and smoked chicken. You shared the Fear
of all small dogs of being stood on.
You never knew your place.
Your grey-bearded little loon face
appears in every single photograph
we’ve taken over the last sixteen years
in a series of beautiful gardens.
Curled up in Graham Lindsay’s
Moses basket, (may Wigor rest in peace)
you looked like a geriatric Miss Muffet
in a dainty bonnet. I’d swing you in it
carefully from place to place in the sun.
Now, my darling, shivering little fillet
of flesh, you’re gone.
Arise, O citizens of Bluff.
Lift up, each one of you, a glass of Guinness
with a plumped oyster-eye swimming in it.
And when I say when, shout ‘ Slainte!
To Chloe, who was neither fair, nor sweet
smelling, nor slim, but a very good little creature.

April 20, 2006

Last updated 26 April, 2006