Looking to Serve

The 8th prompt for the NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt is to write a Kyrielle or write a poem on servitude. The kyrielle is one of my favorite forms having 4 stanzas of 4 lines with a syllable count of 8 syllables per line. The last line of the first stanza becomes the refrain repeating as the last line in all following stanzas. The Rhyme scheme is: aabB, ccbB, ddbB, eebB. Not too difficult and I find them enjoyable to read aloud.

I heard the taunts and whispered threats
I guess at stakes when you place bets
Peer pressure and you play the knave
I’m as always, your willing slave

You ignore me on busy days
And forget me in bonfire blaze
When attention is all I crave
I’m as always, your willing slave

From your table you toss me scraps
I toil so hard my strength it saps
My devotion on heart engrave
I’m as always, your willing slave

Into fierce battle’s heated fray
By your side, I will never stray
Call me companion strong and brave
I’m as always, your willing slave

If you haven’t guessed, this poem is not about an actual slave. Instead it is a commentary on the human-canine dynamic. Well, at least the way some people see their dogs. Working in Veterinary Medicine I’ve seen my share of owners both good and bad. The good owners generally out number the bad ones, because mostly the really bad owners do not bring their dogs to the vet clinic except out of necessity. And even the owners who treat their dogs with little respect or compassion are greeted with a joyful wagging tail when retrieving their pet from the clinic. Dogs seem to eagerly enter a contract of servitude with their owners – even when people ignore, demand obedience, give little or no thought to the well-being of the dog – the dog will remain loyal. But the person who upholds the contract will be rewarded a hundred times over with that which goes beyond loyalty and servitude – love.

60 thoughts on “Looking to Serve

    1. True that! But the love and devotion of a dog can elevate a person and make them better… The canines for convicts program where prison inmates are assigned shelter dogs to care for and train has been a great success and benefits both the dogs and the men.

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  1. This form is one of my favorite from the prompts. The refrain makes it not only rhythmic but also powerful/emotional. I loved this poem and the empathy is shows for our canine family members.

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    1. Thanks Monty! I’m so happy that you found a form that resonates in you. Humans and dogs have had a long history of association and it is no wonder that they are touted as “man’s best friend”!

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  2. I enjoyed the poem and the way it highlights the relationship with our canine companions.

    Our family had to bid my eldest son’s pit bull a sad farewell after the new year. He was 13 years old, his back legs barely worked (we had to carry his back end out the door and he handled his bathroom duties on his own after the help). He was clearly blind and deaf, but still showed his affection for the family when we sat with him. It was hard.

    On Easter, we welcomed a new furry member who is 8 months old and much smaller. We compared the personalities with love and affection, sharing our memories of Romeo (born on Valentine’s Day) and welcoming Gizmo, the new member.

    I’m so glad that the good owners out number the bad ones. I really do.

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    1. Thanks Dodi – I’m tickled you liked this one! I’m sad to hear that Romeo has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. That love link between us and our dogs is a strong one. I’m so pleased to hear that there was room in everyone’s heart to welcome Gizmo! I’m sure he will never take the place of Romeo but will likely create his own place in your lives and hearts!

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    1. Many thanks Carol Anne! I’m tickled you liked this poem. We love our pets and they return the love without reservations. I hope you have many happy years with your pup!

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  3. Well done, Muri! Our dogs are always there for us, eagerly waiting for our attention. So loyal a human, one is unlikely to find. They fill so many roles: giver of affection, playmate, companion, psychologist, warm body to snuggle up with on a winter night.

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    1. It is true! Every word! And lately (pandemic times) the pets and especially the dogs have taken on even larger roles in people’s lives. The traditional role of protector of property, livestock and family has expanded to include child surrogate and emotional support.

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    1. Thanks Martha! I’m tickled that you rescued Teddy and he has you and you have him!! Perhaps someday his memories of that sad time will fade and all he will remember is the love you provided!! Give both Bear and Teddy hugs from me!

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  4. I love this poetry form! I think I “naturally “ write in this style sometimes. The poem is wonderful! I’m sure you’ve seen so much in dog/parent relationships! 💛

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    1. Yay! Karla I used to think in Haiku but I’ve given that up for some of these more intricate forms – the kyrielle is a very fun form. I was in private practice for 10 years and saw so many wonderful and heartbreaking things. I have horror stories and triumphant ones too. Fortunately there were more happy endings!

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        1. I could have taken a job at a shelter when I graduated – they were offering double the salary but it was because they had such a high burnout rate. I decided to go a different direction and have never looked back.

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  5. That was a clear poem, and it sounded nice. I have cats not dogs because cats are easier to take care of. Not that cats don’t take care of me. In fact, they run the apartment and me. They know I have issues. They’ve adapted to me. I’ll never forget how I got Medusa. It was storming outside, and my cat was making a lot of noise by the door. Like a cheap horror movie, I opened the door, and Medusa ran in, hissed at both Keiko and me. Then she went to my bed, slept at the end of it and wouldn’t let me get on. It’s like, make yourself at home. I had to take Keiko to the vet the next day, and she had some weird stomach issues that turned out to be hernias. 1000 dollars later, and I received an expensive stray–doesn’t that always happen? She’s no longer angry, but a sweet cat. She has sight issues. I don’t think she was abused but got out.

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    1. I’ve had cats – grew up with them and if it weren’t that son#2 and Sparky are so allergic, I’d have one now… And yes they can be as loving and loyal as dogs!

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    1. Hehe! I suppose the dynamic is a little different but love is love! As a former cat owner (Sparky and son#2 are both highly allergic), I know that cats can be just as loyal as dogs though not as willing to obey commands – cats must be cajoled.

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    1. Living up to the expectations of others can be either a benefit or a detriment depending on the perspective. I like to think that if I do good it will encourage others to do good as well. The leading by example – and serving seems a good dynamic!

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      1. He’s good. He allows Tbear to pull on him and hug him hard. If he’s had enough he leaves. Lol. Little Cutie wanted us to leave him with her while we came to the farm this weekend so he’ll be plenty spoiled. ☺️

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