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Genezaretto Dog

A southern mood; in limestone whiteness steeped, castanette chirps, brush-hidden cicadas; up-clambering, the black-coned cypress trees; powder-blue pigeons, and the cooing doves, with ruby eyes and beaked with ivory, their calls send permeating through the trees. Chortling its song, the water fills the font, a southern mood, sweet, cemeterial. In terraces, the slope descending down, in whitestone paths and steps of brickwork steep, and houses, like white boxes, are half-hid, half-rising out of curls of greenery, down to where, slumbering, the lake deliberates. Wave follows wave, rendezvous-ing the shore, quietly whispering in sleepy slaps, and hovering over the surface, mist, and far beyond, blue-cordonned mountains, steep.

Behold, a white dot on the surface flares, and slowly, slowly, ever larger grows.

It seems at first a snowflake waterborne, a bobbing sea-gull, pelican, or swan - but no, a boat, whose sail is billowing, borne to the shoreline by the faintest breeze, and hither, thither, tacked close to the wind, ploughing a winding furrow in the glaze.

It nears, and now at last discernible are shapes of boat, and sail, and bearded crew. The boat comes close, and crewmen standing raise their cassocks long, and hop into the sea, and wading, through the shallows push the boat, against the shore, while others drop the mast, folding and rolling the pale-textured sail. They step ashore, proceed in single file, orderly winding upward, step by step, until they enter in my master's grounds, the gardens, courtyard by the house itself. A dog now welcomes them, with friendly barks - not to wake fear or sound impending chase, but more to notify the occupants. Now those men enter, right under the roof, beneath which sinewy contorts an ancient vine, then broadly-shouldered fill the portico and declare "Peace be with this house." The master now emerges with his wife, and children, and with all the serving staff, and greets the men in all humility, and offers food, sparse, meagre bread and wine, but also fruit, which these his gardens gave. Twelve are the men, the thirteenth differing, hard to say how, but he their gazes holds. Now the thirteenth begins to utter words, and all sit still, attentive, concentrate, while he with vocals quiet, serious, strangely melodious, profound discourses on.

And then I, from the courtyard sneaking in, approach the man and lie down at his feet, curling around them, as is usual and customary in the canine way.

For I am not a man, I am that dog, who earlier greeted the travellers; were I a man, scarcely would I now dare, to so approach this individual. But a dog has no sense, no sin, and feels - this man who speaks so softly will not harm, nor turn away, even a simple cur. What he says I know not, I am a dog, but it is bliss, pure bliss to lie beneath.

A silence vast now forms and underlies all sounds that are, and that can ever be, underpins grey-blue pigeons' -, turtle doves' cooing , the sundried chirp of cicadas, the ringing of the water in the font, and that sweet voice, so deep, ethereal: a whitewalled precipice, joy's nothingness, so deep it goes on, ever, without end. And by these feet I'd like to lie for good, and by these feet I'd gladly petrify.


I'm sure you've noticed that the above text is written in prose. Prose is something written conventionally across in lines, whereas poetry is in columns. Or at least it was, until recently. Now poetry is also something, which, written in columns carries some sort of assonances, such as "lycée" and "raison d'etre" or "forever farewell" - "behind the wall", whilst the number of syllables in the individual rows remains arbitrary, as before the age of assonances. Therefore, those Captains of Poetry and General Literature among you will surely find it perplexing why the preceding contains such back-to-front word-order, like "brickwork steep" instead of ''steep brickwork" and so forth, which, plainly, serves no function whatever, does it.

Moreover, you will doubtless opine that this is not really literature, because it is rather too much like Julius Zeyer and so forth, romantic, sentimental, you might say quietistical or pietistic or something like that. Also, that in this couple of pages you find nothing sordid or rude, not a word, so that the pace, well, suffers, the literary candour isn't there, is it.

Also, from a theological perspective it is probably non-permissible, most likely this kind of image is long-banned by such-and-such a Vatican Council, or such-and-such a Papal Circular or whatever - one is unlikely to have thought of something altogether original - we've already had this here as the Cynolatrist heresy (Cynolatria or Dog-worship can obviously mean both worship of - and by a dog, just as "amor Dei" can mean a Love for God and God's Love etc.) Because firstly: to imagine that one is a dog is against the Teaching on Substantial Forms or something else and also it is kind of disrespectful to Christ, as follows:

It is evident that people come to Holy Rites dressed in their very best and it would be inappropriate to turn up untidy in dress or appearance: The reason behind this Sunday Best attire is to show respect to God etc. Surely noteworthy is that a formally dressed person acquires temporarily a kind of higher social status, he looks like a member of the Gentry. This principle, universally valid in the Human species can obviously be extended to the whole of Creation. Man is a creature on a higher rung than a dog. Ergo. Q.E.D.

And even if this were not the case, this kind of fantasy is wholly eccentric, not to mention heretical, it has at least shades of heresy about it, like the writings of Jan Hus: nisi haereticum nihilominus haeresin sapiens. - Now could come the bit about how it appears from the vantage point of Christian Existentialism, but I can't oblige there, because I've ceased to keep up with these things. Naturally enough, it would once again appear in a bad light - maybe because an animal does not exist in the existentialist sense, i.e. "ex-sistere", it is not elevated above itself and is therefore incapable of piety and devoutness, or something.

Because, you see, where would it get us: If a man is capable of imagining this about himself, he might well imagine it about others, about this fellow or that one, but mainly about me who happens to be this-and-that and a so-and-so, more to the point.

And that would never do - the sheer lunacy of it!


That's just like you, to spoil it all, you intellectual nincompoops.

Why tell you anything - I should have kept my big mouth shut.


transl. VZJP