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  • John M. Campbell

This Dog Don't Hunt

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

I wrote this poem in frustration. At the time I was managing a team who installed a new system that ran 24-hours-a-day. The system was built in Virginia and delivered to Colorado where we maintained and operated it. The manager in Virginia was my boss, and he required every decision to be passed by him before I implemented it. Of course, he had his own demands on his time, so my calls and emails asking for his approval often went unanswered. The result is this poem, which I shared with my family, but nobody at work. Every person who worked on a short leash for a micromanaging boss can relate.

This Dog Don’t Hunt

The autumn dawn paints the morning mists red.

The hunting dog, flanks aquiver, pure bred

For seeking prey, trained to flush the game bird

Within the deep brush, awaits the key word.

The master’s boots shine and never touch mud.

He wears a tweed coat with leather gun patch

That’s never known dirt, or drop of dog’s blood,

From tending snouts cut by nasty thorn thatch.

The other dogs seek the source of fresh scents:

They bound through tall grass beyond the stone fence.

A pheasant takes flight, the hunter takes aim,

A crack of gunfire, his dog retrieves game.

Tails wagging with pride, they bring in each prize.

Their owners voice praise, delight fills their eyes.

Observing this scene, a whine of regret

Escapes from this dog for not having yet

Fulfilled its true role as hunter’s retriever.

A yank on the leash to counter this fever

Elicits a yelp of pain and confusion.

The dog is entrapped by his master’s delusion.

The hunting dog lies with head on its paws,

Enduring rebukes for uncertain flaws,

And wistfully gazes at fields of high grass.

Its master knows naught but bluster and brass.

John M. Campbell


Next poem: For Jerrell, On Early Mornings

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