JIMMY, THE DOG | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 30, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 30, 2017

Poetry

JIMMY, THE DOG

I want to write a poem about a dog

though I've already written some poems

that feature dogs. Sometimes I want

to write a poem without rhyme,

about a dog, so I'm writing a poem

that doesn't have any rhyming

lines. I know how cautious I need

to be about grammar while writing

a poem, especially a poem about

a dog, as the dog I'm writing about

doesn't break rules; neither does he

disregard his master. Following rules 

is what grammar demands – verbs

follow nouns. In a beautiful morning,

last March, when it was raining,

I went to Jimmy, the dog. A sudden

visit. Jimmy sneaked out, stood still by

me for ninety seconds, as if awestruck

by my presence. I felt Jimmy was happy

and had greeted me warmly. I instantly

thought of the dogs I had written about

in the past, the dogs who yelp and make

noises, but Jimmy emerged as an essential

lyric, rhythmical and resonant. My poems

about dogs had been a failure, and I was

waiting for the poem about Jimmy. Dogs

gaze at preys, appease hunger, slurping 

down stale leftovers, bark pointlessly, 

kill birds flying to their starving nestlings

with food hard-earned from a distant

shore, fear clouds if it rains, embrace 

winter and like to live on trash. I was

travelling by the road bordered by

acacias teeming with tiny flowers,

tea gardens with lush greenery and

tea-leaves. Jimmy bent over, quietly

snuffled, looked up to make eye contact,

made small sounds, said possibly thank you

for coming. A photograph with Jimmy

reminds me of an empyrean time – I

truly tasted the bliss of solitude and rain

and the company of Jimmy, the dog.

Mohammad Shafiqul Islam teaches English at Shahjalal University of Science & Technology and is a poet and translator.

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