My paws are bent leaning on
warm leg, there on my day couch
soft darkness slouches round my
limbs no cat meow dare rouse
my slumber breath upon a
forest stump sprayed with fresh perfume.
I recently read Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, an amazing Canadian novel about dogs who have been bestowed human intelligence (as well as their own). One of these dogs recites poems that inspired me to write this one. As the author explains in an end note, the genre was invented by François Caradec for Oulipo, a group of writers creating meaning using constrained writing techniques.
This type of poem has meaning for both humans and animals and when read aloud, includes an auditory version of an animal’s name. The dog featured in my photo and poem is ‘Bentley’. When you read the poem out loud you will hear his name.
In the novel, fifteen such poems include a hidden dog’s name. Here is one for example:
The light that moves is not the light.
The light that stays is not the light.
The true light rose countless sleeps ago.
It rose, even in the mouth of birds.
from Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis, p.34
∗Rosie is the name discovered when you read the poem out loud.