For A Staffie Stretched Out On His Stomach


​Patting, with confident affection,
    A crack-shin skull of white-brushed black,
They talked about his predilection
    For lying on his broad flat back,
Duly admired those jaws' huge muscles,
    That short coat and its natural gloss,
 And temper kept through romps and tussles
     It's true. He's almost never cross.

Somehow, the supple pup that bounded,
    Last night, as if he might take wing,
Is now, the morning after, grounded,
    A watch-dog with a weakened spring
Who must not rise to greet his master
    For some time yet,  or run the risk
Of far worse vertebral disaster.
    A short term problem with a disc.

Spine uppermost to anxious bendings,
    His plight reminds how years abridge
Dogs' days with inelastic endings,
    Their capers like their cartilage
Though hints of such a stiffer finish
     Long stay beyond this patient's ken
Whose vet swears, as the pangs diminish,
     He'll soon be on his back again.


Jerome Betts

(Illustrations by Pete D'Amico)

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  Jerome Betts  would be pleased to hear them.