A Quadruped ‘ s Life


If the good Lord in the Old Testament
Had a coterie of well meaning friends
He would have been amply applauded
On the patenting of the quadruped.

He made such a perfect symmetry
Which Blake turned into a song,
With great items always in pairs
Ending in fine poise, apt balance.

When it stalks forward or steps backwards
The gaze of a twinkling pair of eyes
Informs with precision the great motion
Lending thought to dumb perfection.

But this flaw in its creation
Made it a subaltern phenomenon
And gave the upper hand to the talking human
Whose code it deciphered, not replicated.

It learnt words of comfort and command
And trained to move as ordered,
Said nothing and merely swayed
To the strokes that the master played.

The pathos brought it pity of itself
But it carried it only so far
As was allowed by the lingua franca,
Ensuring pampering and escaping beating.

Since absolute power corrupts absolutely,
The inequation was in the master’s favour,
And even the quadruped’s forest-find
Was the property of the talking fiend.

Thus was created the archetype
Of dominion over beasts of all shapes,
And also lesser men in the bargain,
The inevitable thing of arching

Being the tongue of constant preaching.
Masters keep them at baton point
To do their bidding with no will at all,
And if so condemned, in lifelong thrall.

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