Percy Beast Sheltie
was a poet’s dog,
knew how to lie
quiet at his master’s feet

lifting an eyelid
patiently patient
for dactyl or trochee;

for iamb or anapest:
a wag of the tail
demure and discreet.

Wait for the best
was his motto.
His favorite poem?
A spondee: let’s eat.

40 responses »

  1. I learned a lot with this one as the poetic terms for the rhythm of the feet were all new to me – had to look them up and am still not sure. Brought me to the conclusion that he is one smart dog, and the poetess; spectacular as always.

    • Speaking of smart dogs…an acquaintance of mine trained his dog from puppyhood to respond exclusively to commands in Latin, and lots of folks therefore thought it was a very learned dog. I had fun with this little poem, Jane…those metrics come easily to me, but blogging has helped me to realize that is not so widely the case. Thanks for your kind words, as always.

      P.S. Your name is a spondee and a trochee; mine is a dactyl and a trochee. πŸ™‚

  2. Ohhh, this is marvelous, Cynthia! I love “patiently patient” (note to self) and the motto, “wait for the best” (wish I’d followed that in life).

  3. Cynthia, our Poetess, has created again a memorable image of Percy the Sheltie! Playfully patient with his master and commands, he steals the show with his actor-like responses. Ah yes, I’m one who keeps the dictionary close-by when reading your poems and can happily say learns from your posts and diction in another fantastic recording. Have a beautiful evening ~

    • Oh, Mary…you make me smile…I hope you know I didn’t mean to cause “homework”! But since you are such a thorough dictionary lover, you now know that my name is a dactyl and yours is a trochee…should you ever have need of that information. πŸ™‚

      Also, I probably should have included an apology to the famous lyric poet,
      Percy Bysshe Shelley (husband of Mary Shelley, the woman who wrote Frankenstein.) At any rate I thank you for your delightful response!

    • Thanks, Lea…..I was up for a change of pace…I’ve been thinking of people’s names as poetry’s metrical feet….you’re a trochee..there seem to be a majority of trochees, especially with male names..the rarest are the anapests….aren’t you glad to know all that? πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve never owned a dog, but I like pets … and your words made me smile and laugh.

    I invite you and your readers to my to special blog party this weekend … fun for all is an order of the day.

  5. LOL! Love this! What a smart dog! And I learned what a spondee is, today! Turns out that’s my fave poem — “Let’s eat,. too” πŸ˜€

  6. I have to be completely honest with you Cynthia, I’m a little lost with the meaning on this one. I don’t know enough about Percy Bysshe Shelley’s writing to know what the connection might be. You’ll have to educate me a little! πŸ™‚ But there is one thing for sure, he does sound like a very well trained doggy! And don’t all dogs just love to eat – in fact I’m sure they ‘live’ to eat!! πŸ˜€

    • I don’t blame you at all, Suzy, for finding no connection with Shelley’s writing here; this little poem has little in common with his great Romantic verse. But the name of the doggie is meant to SUGGEST that poet’s name, much as a dog owner might humorously coin it. What I did here was to imagine a poet whose dog Percy, being so named, was able to channel traditional metric “feet” of poetry (dactylic, trochaic, iambic, anapestic, and spondaic) and show it by such behavior as wagging his tail……ridiculous, I know! In the end, though,as you point out, food is the most important thing…certainly more important than poetry.
      Thanks for your response, and sorry for the confusion…I certainly don’t want to frustrate one of my best readers! πŸ™‚

      P.S. according to the metrical-feet-name-game mentioned above, you’re a trochee and a dactyl…just the turnaround of me!

      • I did get the wagging the tail bit, I forgot to mention that, and no it’s not ridiculous at all, very clever actually! πŸ™‚ Maybe I understood it better than I thought. It was probably just the name that made me think there were more connections. I quite often struggle with understanding the full meaning of poetry (it’s just the way my mind works) although not usually when I read yours.

        I have just broken out in a rotten head cold today, and now I’m having trouble thinking straight at all. So maybe that’s what it was, I felt it looming a few days ago, thought it would pass – but no – full on cold. 😦 At least it’s not flu, that’s something to be thankful for. Hopefully I will be in thinking mode again when I pass by next time!! πŸ˜‰

          • Alphabet soup, that sounds like fun food! Well thank you anyway, it’s the thought that counts the most. It’s as if I had tasted it! πŸ˜€ Health is a lot better today, cold leaving fast, must be that soup!! πŸ˜‰

    • Yes, a few months ago I experimented with adding sound to my posts and the response was quite positive, so I’ve continued to do it. I’m fond of the traditional metrics of English poetry–which was originally meant to be spoken–even though all that is out of fashion now– so I often employ those metrics and get a kick out of reading my poems aloud…..yes, that’s my voice! πŸ™‚

  7. Cynthia, what a splendidly humorous poem is β€˜Percy Beast Sheltie’. A poet’s poem and a poet’s dog, sure. Yet so playful is your tone, so loveable is Percy, that we do not need to be scholars of poetry to chuckle and smile.

    Great writing. Cheers,


    • Hello, Paul. You’ve expressed exactly what was my hope….and as it turns out, if the poem didn’t work on both scores for some readers, it worked on one or the other! Thank you so much for your kind words….

  8. Percy Beast Sheltie’s creator is a person with a wonderful sense of humor. Keep making your readers laugh; laughter’s is good for health, the doctors say. You will have your readers blessings.

  9. O, you can write, Percy, or Herrick for that matter, be damned, dame poet. There’s enough wit in here to make even the 17th century crowd, with their insatiable demand for wit, feel proud.

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