Thursday, March 6, 2008

For Fred (6/05 and 3/07)

I.
Man, Fred,
you are a furry furniture,

a french-fried
phantom feline.

Fat friend
with football physique,

a favored little fellow
for fetching.

Do not forget me.


II.
Recently,
rather rangy.

A rail-thin
ragamuffin, really.

Remember romping recklessly
when rewards were richer?

Rotund, rambunctious
and radiant?

You regret nothing.


III.
Apprehensive,
engaged by my emergent expectation,

allow each utterance
to arrest your activity.

You acquiesce to our
accustomed understanding

as all vowels are allowed
to alliterate with each other.

Even unto the end.


IV.
Domestic decay
delicately descends.

Dust destroys.

Dander does damage.

Dogs do not deny death,
goddamn it.

But Fred
forgives everything.

Part I of this one was originally just the first two stanzas and its writing accompanied the writing of what eventually became 'Apology' (to be posted later). This was very early in my poetry-writing career--really less than two months in--and it's surrounded by some pretty bad stuff.

Not until February '06 did it become its current incarnation, originally titled, 'In Praise of a Schnauzer.' (I struggled a lot to decide whether Fred's dog-identity should be revealed at the beginning, and I still wonder this when I read it.) It was part of the spurt of writing that produced some of my favorite poems.

As I usually say when I introduce the last three sections, it became apparent, after I left home and came back a few times, that things had changed. Fred was a good barometer of that change for me, so his poem became this epic about communication and death.

The idea in the third stanza is that both our ideas of alliterative propriety and our communication with animals are conventionally determined--maybe sometimes surprising in the way they seem right but aren't logical or are messy and complicated but still work out.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Whoa. I need to read this some more - interesting to see this in *another* evolved form.