Another that I can't find online.
I’ve been enjoying Griffiths’ animal poems: she seems to share my fondness for dogs and cats. I think my favourite of the animal poems is “Carrier”, which considers the common dog habit of stealing from the garbage, and transforms it into a spiritual metaphor.
The lines divide naturally into six groups, each consisting of one sentence. The first five groups are three lines long, and contain lists--making this, I suppose, a type of list poem. Here’s a list of the lists:
- Lines 1-3: things the dog carries (henceforth, “treasures”)
- Lines 4-6: ways of discovering treasures
- Lines 7-9: substances the dog sucks out the treasures, including the wonderfully disgusting “intimate juices of discarded tissues”
- Lines 10-12: assonant descriptions of the care the dog takes over insignificant things
- Lines 13-15: ways of recycling treasures once they have been confiscated and thrown away.
The final pair of lines forms an unrhymed, unmetered couplet. Although this poem is too long to be a sonnet, and does not have any sort of rhyme scheme, there is a volta between the first fifteen lines and the last two. The final couplet turns away from the dog, and toward God, expressing the wish that God will be as loving toward the author when she dies as the dog is toward the treasures.
So in conclusion, a dog’s a filthy animal, but a dog’s got personality.