This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

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Tuesday 31 August 2010


Patch (Dr Karl Shuker)

My very first dog was Patch, a rough-haired Jack Russell terrier, whom I loved dearly. As he grew older (he lived for twelve and half years – a good age for his breed), he became ever more relaxed, but in his younger days, like all puppies, he took great joy in waging war with the world outside. Yet with us he was a gentle, intelligent little soul, filled with love and wisdom far beyond his species.


A little whiskered face enquires
If he may join me by the fire,
For oft we sit, just he and I,
And watch the red flames flicker by.

And though the night be dark and cold,
He slumbers, reaching Sleep’s calm fold
Of visitors to dreamy lands,
With silent shores and silver sands.

Yet when he wakes, he sits up straight,
Or if he’s sleeping, and we’re late,
He growls in puppy-thunder tones
For ending dreams of juicy bones.

But then he’s up, and runs outside
To see if any cat dares ride
His fence with velvet paws of steel
That, five curved silver claws, conceal.

And if there is a bird in flight
His anger makes a dreadful sight,
As gates are mauled in raging storms
Of fury from this tiny form.

But when the world is still and calm,
Then he bodes no-one any harm.
And two dark eyes gaze up at me,
So brown and warm for all to see.

Those eyes: like liquid pools of Thought,
So dark and deep, for Nature caught
The intellect of other minds,
Of his and human thoughts combined

When she designed those shining wells
Of secrets he can never tell.
For we know not his canine speech,
As we have no-one who can teach

Us his strange tongue of howls and barks,
So we are e’er left in the dark
As to his knowledge of our world,
And truths that ne’er will be unfurled.

And yet he understands our speech,
Though he had no-one who could teach
Him, so as Life just flits us by,
Who is the dumb one – he, or I?


  1. Lovely poem. I love animals to bits - all of them - but am so grief-ridden when they die or have to be put down. I guess the shared time we have with them is supposed to be worth the later pain. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, right?

  2. Thanks, Rita. Yes, definitely. I feel exactly the same as you do whenever it comes to that tragic time, and I can still remember the raw agony that I felt when Patch died, long ago now in 1981.


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