Old dogs, war dogs, puppies or strays,
Poetry has power to brighten our days.
Dog stories and poems are best read aloud,
To an audience of one or a theater crowd.
Poetry by international dog show judge Fred Lanting (in the style of Browning, Keats, and Shakespeare) relates to the Shiba, a Japanese breed popular in America.
Sonnets for the Whelping Box
Like fat black bumblebees, mumbling, murm’ring,
Blind creatures crawl within the confines of
A corner of our home. I dearly love
The drone of puppies learning how to sing.
Expert musicians barely one day old,
They hum in harmony, with patient mother
Their favorite audience. They push each other,
Competing strongly for the milk, as bold
Gladiators in Roman rings once fought.
And then, when they are filled with milk, and warm,
They gather in one friendly, drowsy swarm,
Too young to dream of balls or sticks they’d caught,
But twitching just the same, as if they guessed
Their futures while still in their natal nest.
(Written during a golf game when my mind was elsewhere than on the game)
If Great Poets Had Known The Shiba...
(Verses in the style of…)
Oh, Beagles scent and Whippets sight,
And hardly the twain shall meet
Till Shibas go hunting by day or night —
These versatile dogs are neat!
A golden redness darts along the shadowed lawn —
Dark eyes reflect the brightness of the rising sun.
A tireless dog of oriental breed
Charges my heart and says “I’m all you need”.
That’s my dear Michi painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, for the artist caught
The glory of that day. I splurged and bought
Champagne to fill the silver trophy cup
And felt I had already drunk it up.
Though I have traveled in the realms of gold
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen,
In far Pacific islands I have been
Enamored of a dog both quick and bold.
Before I knew the Shiba, I’d been told
About its ancient heritage, serene nature,
And what each Standard term should mean,
But now I have one I can pet and hold!
Go for the nose.
The Shiba is quicker
As an ear licker.
Shiba, Shiba, small and bright,
In the quiet of the night
I imagine that you say,
"Kon bawa! Come and play!”
It was a handler and his dog,
With a hey and a ho and hey nonino,
That to the dog show grounds did go
In the spring time, the summer, or the fall time,
Or even in the cold, hey ding a ding, ding,
That home a ribbon they might bring.
Oh where hae ye been, Lord Randal, my son?
Oh where hae ye been, my handsome young man?
I hae been to the dog show, mither, make bed soon,
For I’m full worn and weary from the running around.
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Ordinary dog thou never wert —
Into Heaven or near it
Bringest thou my heart
By cleverness and unpremeditated art.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
It is an ancient breed of dog;
Of the six it is the smallest one,
With a curled-over tail and coat of red-dun,
But of them all, most fun.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
O my dog is like a red, red rose
In garden or in vases.
O my dog is like a melodie
As round the room he races.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And I bid fare thee weel,
I’ll luve my Shiba still, my dear,
So deep the luve I feel.
Hyd, Retriever, thy gilte tresses clere;
Wolfie, ley thou thy meknesse al a doun;
Hyd, Collye dog, al thy frendly manere;
All Terriers be no comparisoun,
For certes be the Shiba, of swich renoun,
Nor Rottweiler nor Shepherd doth he fere.
Yet swetely hath he kist both cheke and ere,
And mak no lhude blete, but bird lyk soun.
Editor's Note: Fred Lanting is known to us as a “dog man” (worldwide judge, trainer, lecturer) and to others as a retired organic chemist and college instructor.
He is also a student of Philosophy and Shakespeare and we thank him for combining his love of The Bard and the Barkers. Be sure to peruse these Dog Books by Fred Lanting.
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