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buster in newbury

we play with stray mongrels

all eager in spells of sun between snowfall

in rough and ready parking lots

across the freeway from diners

whose customers send back postcards

to pin to the wall to remember them by.


eat ‘homemade’ chilli and packet crackers

powdery and brittle,

with iced water in tall red glasses

of the indestructible kind

and hot chocolate topped with

whipped cream that turns it cold.


unashamedly bright eyed and desperate to please

we stop to wonder whose dogs are these

to pat and praise and stroke and click

our tongues in the sides of our cheeks.

they are all tail-wagging joyousness

and overwhelmed by our mere presence.


left out in all weathers, their eyes

still brim with hope and love

and a longing inside that can’t be named

to be valued and cherished once again,

our brief attentions a blessing

they simply did not count on.


did they once belong in someone’s backyard?

come running when their names were called?

could anybody measure their devotion?

reckon it up when it’s never-ending

like a hot spring welling up

from subterranean depths?


now they cock their heads to

deliver a gaze of plain adoration,

lick the hands of strangers,

with kind words for them,

and time to run and chase and play,

but only pausing, passing through.

The picture is of Buster at Dogs Trust Newbury, who needs a new home. Buster loves his walks and playing in the garden. He is great with people of all ages but sadly dislikes other dogs and cats. Buster will suit an experienced Terrier household with a secure garden and where he can be walked in quiet areas and not need to encounter too many other dogs. Five years old, Buster is a lovely friendly chap who has strong breed traits. For more information, please contact the centre directly: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/…/fi…/new~~~~~n~/1125418/buster.