Retired K-9

When I was young, you kept me in a cage.
But as I got a little calmer, older,
Sometimes you’d let me ride in the front seat
Shotgun, with my paw upon your shoulder.

It wasn’t just for toys and treats, you know—
Sniffing out drugs and shells, and giving chase.
I gained a sense of honor/self-importance
And pleasure from the pleasure on your face.

My days are duller now, and you have found
Another K-9 friend to take my place.
For solace I have all your bathroom bottles
And, till the end, one evil cat to chase.

 

 

May Day

Such celebration is there round his grave!
The birds are singing, a cacophony
Of different keys. The wind is like a wave,
And all the flowers are tossing in its sea.
I hear the rattling drumbeat of a band.
Some kind of festival is going on.
Even the clouds are racing, yet I stand
As straight and still as cemetery stone.

My friend was once as full of life as this,
This razzle-dazzle with a clown on stilts,
And bagpipes played by men in saffron kilts,
And children splashing in the bright-blue lake. . . .
What feast of sight and sound! How sad it is
The dweller in the ground cannot partake.

 

 

Allen Lee Ireland (b. 1969) lives in Helena, Montana, and works for law enforcement administration.  His poetry has appeared in The Lyric, Red Planet Magazine, and The Road Not Taken. His first book of poems, Loners and Mothers, was published in 2017. His second collection, A Sunray Lands in Syria, is slated for publication in 2021. 


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13 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    These are beautiful poems. Beautifully thought out, and composed. “The wind is like a wave…+, and the K=9’s thoughts, all perfect. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Allen Ireland

      No, thank you! I work for law enforcement administration so I guess it was inevitable that I write a poem about a K-9.

      Reply
    • Allen Ireland

      Thank you! Someone once called me the Barbara Walters of poetry because he said my poems always make people cry.

      Reply
  2. Cynthia Erlandson

    “May Day” has some really well-turned phrases: “a cacophony of different keys” (I can just hear the birds!); “The wind is like a wave, And all the flowers are tossing in its sea.” ( I can truly see the image!); and the poet “standing As straight and still as cemetery stone” (I can feel it, along with the wind!)

    Reply
  3. Jeff Eardley

    I really enjoyed both of these, and lovely to get the point of view of the dog in “Retired K9” and you have summed up perfectly, the funeral of a friend who is unable to join in the festivities. I particularly liked the “clown on stilts” and “men in saffron kilts”
    You would not think that Covid could put a damper on funerals, but here in England, it certainly has. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Margaret Coats

    Both poems are well done, and enjoyable. The light tone suits them. The turn of the May Day sonnet is particularly good, with things becoming even livelier in the sestet.
    I know someone who is a K-9 officer, but never thought about where the dog would be when retired. Naturally, the dog would stay in his familiar home. As Sally and Jeff pointed out, it is intriguing to hear the canine point of view.

    Reply
    • Allen Ireland

      Thanks! We have a K-9 at work that I think about so often that I finally got inside his head!

      Reply
  5. Peter Hartley

    These two poems excellent, particularly the first and especially its last two lines.My mother has a beautiful Labrador retriever who spent the first nine years of her life highlighting the sorry plights of would-be illegal immigrants, covered in oil and grease, cold, wet and starving, and desperately clutching the back axles of lorries in Calais. Lettie did her very best to let the whole world know about it.

    Reply

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