The dog who read books had nowhere
in his brain for the words to go.
As they streamed in through his eyes, line
by line they re-emerged through each
fibre in his fur with a yelp.
He watched his master’s noiseless act
of reading and copied him as
best he could turning the pages
by swishing his nose, swivelling
his head from side to side and top
to bottom over each page. Words
of English left him a shiny,
glistening coat but Irish words left
him with the most peculiar
smell, attracting the barks in par-
ticular of wolfhounds and red
setters, water spaniels, Kerry
Blues, and the keening of priests who
prayed only in hidden ditches
near forgotten limestone mass rocks.
* Patrick Cotter is the director of Munster Literature Centre, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival and the Cork Spring Poetry Festival. His poem ‘Madra’ won the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry 2013.
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