Today's poem is by Peter B. Hyland

The Natural World

One September the neighbor's terrier found a way
          To sneak through to the hens.
                                          He wrung each neck,

Scattering feathery mounds of white
          & red from the trough to the fence,
                                          An entire field of small
Mutilated pillows—
          That dog had never been happier.
                                          He trotted casually, surveying
The scope & pleasure of his
          Accomplishment. But I cannot accuse him
                                          Of being cruel. Poor puppy!

Morality is a trick no dog can learn.
          Because we feel guilt, some say we are better
                                          Off than the animals.

I agree, though I wonder at the dumb life
          Of a terrier, who is equally at his best as
                                          He sits shading himself

Beneath the ripening pears
          Or as he stops here & there, scampering along
                                          In a yard filled with broken

Chickens. When I doubt the soul, I see landscapes
          Cleared of all distinctions,
                                          Where no lines converge,

Where the fang that enters
          The human heart grows from a human mouth.
                                          The little beasts

Fulfill themselves over & over, & know
          No courts or fiery pits,
                                          Only the giving-in
To their great
          Doggy urges: chasing weakness,
                                          Running through the clover.

Copyright © 2009 Peter B. Hyland All rights reserved
from New South
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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