I think of a man my son met
in the schoolyard with a knapsack
full of steakbones
petting an invisible dog.
Heels in the ground he walked it,
claimed the dog could cook & sew.
"Next time," I said, "he says to you,
'don't' step on the dog,'
don't mock, I want you to be kind."
Ask if it bites,
take the risk & rub its ears.
'Theory' by Don Murray from the 1986 'Long Island Poets' collection by The Permanent Press in Sag Harbor. Reprinted with publisher's permission.
'Long Island Poets' can be purchased from The Permanent Press.
An interesting take on the subject, particularly in our world of quick judgements and ever extending protection measures. It is a short poem, but it has two beautifully constructed scenes: one of an unusual encounter in a schoolyard and then the conversation of father(?) and son. We liked the choice of word 'kind' - mildly British and slightly old fashioned, but just right in the context.