Doggerel From a Dog’s Age Ago

water wader
Cai looks something like Alfie did.

When I was a child — last Tuesday or so — I used to write poems. They were about as good as any 12-year-old’s poems, but I remember one or two of them, and I’m ready for bed, and I’m darned if I’m gonna miss a day of posting.

Anyway, to save my sinking sanity, my mum got me a dog when I turned 12. Alfie was a collie-mix, a medium-little dog who would accompany me on walks and sleep on my bed at night. Here are two poems I wrote about him at the time.

Tumblebug Alfie

  • Tumblebug Alfie, my little mutt,
  • How do you get so covered with smutt?
  • I looked at my dog, and soon I found
  • It’s because he’s built so close to the ground.

(There was a now-forgotten second verse. Then…)

  • Tumblebug Alfie, a-chewing on bones-some,
  • with Alfie around, I’ll never feel lonesome.
  • Happy and funny, but truly aboveable,
  • There’s only one word to describe him: it’s “loveable”.


The second poem doesn’t make such strenuous efforts to rhyme. It also contains a bit of early-adolescent philosophising.


  • I look at Alfie, lying there,
  • Comfy, cozy, in a chair.
  • “You shouldn’t be there, Alf,” I say.
  • “I bet you feel guilty, eh?”
  • He gives me such a sheepish stare,
  • I wish I had a camera there.


  • My bed’s another matter, though,
  • And if you see the scene, you’ll know.
  • When man from beast can’t be defined,
  • Then neither has the stricter mind:
  • When Alf is sleeping at the head,
  • I’m on the other end of bed.


These writings from my youth no longer embarrass me as they once did. I must be ancient.

9 Responses to Doggerel From a Dog’s Age Ago

  1. goodbear says:

    i just think you’re great! i’m glad you posted those poems, reconfirming that you are a dog person, whimsical and thoughtful.

  2. jamesviscosi says:

    Those are very cute poems! Don’t be embarrassed by them, I still sing the craziest songs to our dogs …

  3. lavenderbay says:

    “Whimsical” ! Thank you, Goodbear, I strive for that adjective; that’s about the highest compliment you can pay to my writing. And “thoughtful” as well — I should call the monument carvers now and order my tombstone: “Goodbear said…” 🙂

    I bet you do, James — but probably out of earshot of your publisher. And to tell the truth, I still kinda like the above poems. The one I won’t inflict on anyone is the faux-Wordsworthian twaddle that has all the timelessness of a Victorian hymn… never mind.

  4. Mutual friend Jane says:

    In the future, this could be ‘Lavenderbay juvenilia’. Like the Bronte sisters. Or the Mitford sisters.
    Scholarly work. Better than my ‘elderilia’ by far

  5. lavenderbay says:

    Those Mitfords were certainly a bunch, weren’t they? I’ve just read their thumbnail biographies on the PBS web site. I think I like Deborah best; a bit too silly and sentimental, but she had the happiest marriage, she wasn’t cruel, and she has lived the longest.
    I like that word “elderillia” : sounds like Stephen Leacock’s hometown. Or a refreshing summer drink.

  6. Alyson says:

    I was heavily influenced by English poet Pam Ayres when I was a kid, and your poems remind me of hers. Succint and smiley. Ancient? ! Perhaps you see them now with the fondness and the wide scope that distance brings. Crikey, that’s a bit too deep and philosophical..I better find some Halva…I need the sugar to fizz me up some.

  7. livingisdetail says:

    I think these are great early poems and clever. Especially in the second the sense of girl and dog both breaking the rules and the dog taking the prime position. This is so true of kids and dogs and beds. And some big kids too lol…

    Like Alyson I was influenced in my childhood by Pam Ayres and I still remember my favourite lines…I don’t want to go to school today. I’d rather stay home with my duck….

  8. lavenderbay says:

    I never heard of Pam Ayres until you two mentioned her. See, I AM ancient! Poetry-wise, I grew up on Mother Goose nursery rhymes, A A Milne’s poems (When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six) , and Dr Seuss. All nonsensical, each in its own way. And all older than Ms Ayres. I also enjoyed Robert Louis Stevenson’s collection A Child’s Garden of Verses; not as nonsensical, but very nicely done (at least as far as he was able) . But I was probably influenced as much by television and radio jingles as much as anything else.
    Pam Ayres certainly has had an interesting life, though: comic poet, musician, chicken herd, and Secret Service spy!

  9. […] poems, poetry, writing oooh, our first blog poetry slam.   that’s right.  motivated by lavenderbay’s poems from the past, i’ve decided that we, the bloggers, are going to cowrite a […]

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