Day 17 poem-a-day challenge

And the prompt today is a challenge indeed for this cat lover, but here it is from Maureen at “It’s a prompt developed by the comic artist Lynda Barry, and it asks you to think about dogs you have known, seen, or heard about, and then use them as a springboard into wherever they take you.”

Honestly, I am more likely to have a cat than a dog, so when I started to work on this prompt, I thought I would go somewhere else and write about the “dog star.”  I set about researching for this prompt and confirmed that, indeed, Sirius is called the dog star.  A website on Greek mythology identifies SEIRIOS (Sirius) as the god or goddess of the Dog-Star, the brightest star of the constellation Canis Major. The pre-dawn rising of the star in the path of the sun was believed to be the source of the scorching heat and droughts of midsummer ( So, off I went on that trajectory, but fizzled out and returned to my list of dogs I have known. From the sublime to the ridiculous!

I focused on a recent dog & cat story which brought to my mind the first poem I recall memorizing in grade school. It is called “The Duel” and provided me with an epigraph (which I love).  Here’s the poem for those who care to see it, compliments of the Academy of American Poets: It’s fun and this little spat on my front verandah that became my poem today reminded me of the scene!  So, here we go with day 17 draft of a dog poem.

The Chinese plate that told the story of the gingham dog & calico cat

A Duel Threat

The gingham dog and the calico cat/Side by side on the table sat . . .

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”/And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”

The air was littered, an hour or so,/With bits of gingham and calico. . .”

                                                            Eugene Field, “The Duel”

My dreams punctuated with yap, yap, yap.

Out of deep sleep, I perk right up:

“What is that yap, yap, yap?”

I ask my sleepy self.

Eeek! a dog’s persistent yap

much like the neighbor Buddy

I’ve heard before & Tiger Rose treed!

In pajamas at 6 a.m., I trace the bark

to the front verandah, open the door, &

scream! Tiger swats & howls, dog

yelps and scurries down the steps!

With Rocking chair shield, the cat dashes

through the door. Buddy, the dog, licks his wounded nose.

I scold and off he runs, proverbial tail between his legs.

No gingham or calico, but fur litters the air!

                        Jacquelyn Markham 4/17/2022