The Runt

My dog Vincent was a runt.
He was mine from when he was a pup,
So anxious that on our first walk
He would only go a hundred yards
From our house before he sat,
And refused to go any further.
Each day he would chance a bit more,
Until he would follow me anywhere.
He grew into a big dog,
An Alsatian, but always less fire than other dogs.
And one ear never stood up
Into Alsatian prick-eared alertness.
So he always gave the impression
Of a plant that forever stays limp
For lack of vital energy
That floods the system direct.
But he was a clever dog.
I guess runts have to be
To travel life with less resources.
I taught him how to shut doors,
And to implicitly obey commands,
So he could walk the London streets
With me unleashed without risk.
And runts are often very lovable,
With unusual characters.
Maybe they need more love than most,
And so have appealing ways.

And I am a runt —
So loved my dog with understanding.
Born small, premature,
Struggled to stay alive,
But made it through.
Like Vincent, I’ve developed strategies
To face a weaklings anxious heart.
I found the switch for frantic anger
While I was still young,
To frighten larger predators.
Within myself I created
Rooms and treasures
To compensate my outer lack.
But unlike Vincent
I have no flop ear to tell the world
I am without the vital force
To make me prick-eared.
And so, my prick-eared,
Prick centred friends,
It is hard for me when
You tell me I should be this —
I should do that —
And that my tiredness is in my mind.

Now look at me!
I say with pride —
I am a runt!
I am not prick-eared.
But I am here,
Not hiding in a corner.
I do not turn back
At the hundred yards.
But I walk my own road.

Copyright ©2003 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved