THE BEAUTIFUL DOGS
The town has many fine historic buildings,
an elegant Victorian park
and plenty to entice the discerning shopper,
though surely its most striking feature
is the profusion of Beautiful Dogs.
Take a stroll along the Regency high street
or the quiet banks of the river
– you’ll see them everywhere:
the Black Labrador whose coat shines
like coal fresh-cut from the seam,
the Basset with just the right look
of droll melancholy.
Watch the Saluki sashay
past designer boutiques,
the immaculate Spaniel toss her head
like a supermodel,
the Greyhound cock a geometric leg
on the statue of the Queen-Empress.
The owners themselves are not beautiful.
Some have dressed hastily, in odd socks,
some have a small crust of dried egg
on the corner of the mouth.
Their faces tell of unpaid bills,
long waits for the morning bus,
a Ready-Meal for one.
But when they meet they raise their eyes,
permit themselves the briefest of smiles
as hands reach down to rest
on the warm flank
of their own Beautiful Dog.
Nigel King grew up in Essex, studied in Kent, but then came to his senses and headed north. His poetry is influence by, amongst other things, science fiction, travel and Great Aunts. His first collection, What I Love About Daleks, was published in 2017 by Calder Valley Poetry.