Bird-dog, Bird-dog

by Margaret Hemme
The Waters
Honorable Mention, September 2009
Judged by George Szirtes


he’s a god
fur flapping
racing frantic
circles
leaping earth
green and gravel
fringed
by wired walls

he hears
the blackbirds
inky
digging dots
coating oaks
fluttering far
no fences
free, and one

has landed
startles
rises
from his lawn
too late

the rubber ball
is black now
bouncing
and he’s trained
to grab it
from the sky

bird-dog, bird-dog
good catch, but
I’d rather
watch it fly


It's the writing rather than the whole shape here that seems particularly good, the second verse with those inky blackbirds. I think the last verse thins the poem a little, the tone maybe a touch flip. It is the observation that is the strongest element of the poem. --George Szirtes

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