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All the Dogs of Spain

Hugh  Dunkerley


It begins with one dog, in a village,
somewhere near Alicante,
a mournful howling from a stray
tied up by the local simpleton
and left on its own in a tiny shed.
Soon every dog in the village is yapping,
barking, growling, the widow’s Pekinese,
the German Shepherd chained up
outside the grain warehouse,
the feral strays that creep out of the brush
to rummage in the basuras.
Then the farm dogs in the next valley join in,
a choir of melancholy canine voices
bouncing off the surrounding hills,
impossible to tell if there are two dogs or ten,
the echoes mingling, carrying into the mountains
where mastiffs guard lonely farms,
their deep, growling coughs travelling
over forested valleys into the high sierras.
By mid-morning the dogs of Guadalajara
are in full song, by lunch time
strays are moaning on the outskirts of Madrid,
smart Dalmations and Cocker Spaniels calling
to each other around the hills of Granada.
In Seville, Salamanca, Oviedo
the siesta is an uproar of cacophonous barkings,
people leaning out of their windows
to fling flowerpots, books, pans
at the melee of dogs in the streets below.
In Cadiz the shops reopen to the howls of Pomeranians,
the frantic yaps of Shitzus,
dogs tangling their leads around the smooth legs
of the ladies of Santiago de Compostela,
bloodhounds woofing on the cliffs of Finisterre
until, as darkness comes, a lone sheepdog
is left howling at the moon
rising over the bare hills of the Costa De Muerte.



Hugh Dunkerley has been a frequent visitor to the Almassera Vella. An Eric Gregory Award winner, previous publications include: 'Walking to the Fire Tower’' (Redbeck Press), 'Fats' (Pighog Press) and his latest collection 'Praise for the Hare' with Cinnamon Press. This poem was was first drafted during Penelope Shuttle's Poetry week at the Almassera Vella in the Spring of 2010


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