Today’s pome is inspired by a poem I read part of yesterday & wanted to i) play around a bit, ii) try attempting a different form, iii) honouring a subject I rarely write about (haha).
The extract I’m referring to is taken from a very long poem Jubilate Agno (Latin: “Rejoice in the Lamb”) by Christopher Smart, written 1759-63, during Smart’s confinement for insanity, but first published only in 1939. Divided into four fragments A, B, C, & D the whole consists of over 1,200 lines: all the lines in some sections begin with Let; the other sections begin with For. The poem is chiefly remembered today for the 74-line extract wherein Smart extols the many virtues and habits of his cat, Jeoffry. It begins:
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
……For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
& I will use the same/similar lines to begin my (considerably shorter paean).
Jubilate Canis (shout out to my dog)
For I will consider my Dog Chester.
For he is the servant of the Infinite who is throughout the universe.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he wisely sniffs every piece of food offered to him
For secondly he quickly, softly, licks my toes should a leg drop over the bed’s edge
For thirdly he rests neatly, his forepaws politely crossed
For fourthly he sleeps wildly, upon his back, legs sprawled in 9 directions, completely at peace
For fifthly he always stretches his back properly upon awaking
For sixthly at dawn he wishes to smell all that his new in his yard & let others know of his return to dominance
For seventhly, beneath the desk even as I type, he reaches out a paw to ensure there is contact with my foot
For eighthly believes when he has the ball, all others want the ball, & it is his sworn duty to protect & retain the ball
For ninthly he does not consider himself too big to climb onto my lap & cradled like a babe
For tenthly he still whines excitedly (& only a little pathetically) at the gate, when I have been away a long time, as if he did not believe I was ever returning to him
for drive all delight in equal measure
For he is optimism beyond all reason for hope
For he finds joy in the simplest of things.
For while I claim he performs divine duty in ten degrees
For sure I could easily list ten times ten times ten more.
BONUS POEM: April 18, 2018
You don’t see as much of this in Australia, though it is getting worse…
every where you go
we have hung
outside our homes
along the roads
on tree branches
twigs, bushes, brambles
caught on wire
strung from fences
in towns, cities
& isolated country
places you wouldn’t
places they shouldn’t
shreds of flag
shards of flag
a sliver, a scrap, a slip
the smallest fragment
enough to remind us
you can’t escape
the jingoistic fervour
despite the propaganda
it’s hard to take pride
in any of our billion
billion plastic pennants