Cats and Dogs

Poems can be written a  long time after the event that triggered them. When I was about nine I saw another little girl’s dog get run over by a milk lorry. Years later, when I was 21, I wrote this poem:

So new – he didn’t have a name

Happy little girl

in white knee socks

laughing and skipping

on her way to school

a puppy frisking at her feet

Dog, seeking adventure

bounds into road

Dog! Dog!

Still new – he

hasn’t got a name

Rumble of huge lorry


rattling tons

of free school milk

Dog! Dog!

A scream then

like I’d never

heard before

and a crunch that

set my teeth on edge

Ketchup on the road

A tangled, soggy mass of fur

Little girl crying

Living her first death

Oh dog! Poor dog!

So new – he didn’t

have a name

This next poem is about the time we ran over a cat.

Sunday Morning

A streak of ginger 
flashed towards our car 
We lurched to a stop 
a stop a stop 
Too late.

It could have been our cat.

It slithered on its belly 
to the kerb 
and slunk away to die.

We found it skulking 
in an alleyway 
and picked it up 
mindless of the blood and hairs. 
The cat lay limp and lifeless 
in my arms.

The vet came down in his pyjamas. 
The smell of Sunday roast was in the hall 
and nameless cats strayed upon the stairs. 

In the surgery 
spotted the nice white table 
into a Rorschach blot. 
I idly wondered who would clean it up.

The cat squawled a bitter miaow 
At least it was alive 
Brain damaged, said the vet

We skulked away 
into an alleyway 
to die.

In fact, the cat wasn’t hurt at all – although we did get the vet to check it out.

Luckily for the cat – and for us – it survived with eight of its nine lives still intact.
© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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