The Urinating Dog

Greek volunteers in the Balkan War 1912-13
The urinating dog,
he pissed against a tree
and then a little later
again, at half past three.
It formed a little puddle
beneath the olive tree
and trickled through the cobbles
then ran down to the sea.
The urinating dog
was happy, wild and free.
He slept beneath the city walls
of Thessaloniki.
And when the soldiers came back
triumphant from the wars
they threw him paximadi
and baklava and more.
He had a dozen girlfriends
with puppies fifty-three
who ran around the city walls
in canine anarchy.
And when the people came in boats
across the troubled sea,
they knew the pain and hardship
of a life as refugees.
They lived in squalid ghettos
and played the baglama.
Drank coffee in the morning
near the house of Mustafa.
But the urinating dog,
he pissed against a tree
and lived until a ripe old age,
in Thessaloniki.

John Short
 Paximadi - a kind of hard bread in Greece.
 Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Ataturk)

If you have any thoughts on this poem, John Short would be pleased to hear them.