Saved from going muzzle to muzzle
with a final gun,
I watch over you
stroke the creamy softness of your throat,
marvel the arch of your neck,
deep chest, sprung spine,
all your alertness tucked into twitchy sleep.
Racer through and through
you fly the trap,
cut corners, compete for the best bed
but it only takes a vivid dream
to leave you too hot,
strained heart misfiring.
I caress to counter cruelties
and offer the dull thud of my pulse
as a backing beat to steady yours.
(For R V Bailey)
I dismiss the face in swirling waters
like a figure in knotted oak.
A watcher stills me; disbelief resolves into:
whiskers, webbed toes, rudder-tail stalling the current.
this otter’s already out-sensed us.
Ahead of your greyhound stare,
it dissolves into a pulse of silver bubbles,
turns somersaults inside my head,
works your nostrils with growing doubt.
The illustration above, reproduced by kind permission of the artist, is one of several in First Sighting, the collaborative artists’ book they produced this year.
First it was the barn behind our house –
I’d get breath from old hay and conjure a horse,
ease the blinkered bridle over his ears,
back him, snorting, into wood-wormed shafts
and ride down the sunlit track.
Next it was going nowhere
on the old railway track, horsetails
from another age feathering the sleepers.
I’d den in one of the cattle trucks
that rattled my baby dreams.
Then it was mines: muck stacks, scrapers
and stoned blind engine houses.
All things, but what of people
Dogs not winning their keep,
turfed out, abandoned, or shot
by the barrow load and tipped
~ Chris Kinsey ©
Re-printed from Chris’s second collection Cure for a Crooked Smile, Ragged Raven Press, with kind permission of the author. Thank you, Chris – you are indeed the poet laureate of greyhounds!
QCA note: First Sighting is for Chris’s friend, our patron, Rosie Bailey.
A government e-petition to end commercial greyhound racing in the UK has recently been set up. Huge numbers of dogs are left homeless at the end of their careers. 100,000 signatures are needed to have the chance of having this issue debated in parliament.
Let’s give the greyhounds a voice!