Poem introduction

The Dog Days are the last hot days of summer which precede the autumnal mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Dog Days

I’ve been walking the dogs through the damps and the fogs and I love you,

           I love you I cry to the sky and the shuttering sun.

I’ve been spending my days counting all of the ways that I love you,

           And the sum of the ways that I counted amounted to one.

It’s the way that’s the best and it covers the rest and I love you,

           I love you forever since weather began to unwind,

Since the sauropod plod through the memory of God, still I love you

           Till the last lazy star fizzles out and the cosmos is blind.


You’re a child of the light, you’re a ghost in the night and I love you,

           I love you: I whisper it low to the loitering leaves.

You’re as flash as the flight of a meteorite and I love you.

           You’re the cream of the milk, you’re as subtle and silky as Jeeves.

You’re as pale as a bone and as true as alone and I love you,

           I love you: I sing to the crystalline ring round the moon.

You’re as black as the tone of the membranophone and I love you.

           You’re as luscious as honeydew sucked from a runcible spoon.


You’re as soft as the rose, you’re as solemn as prose and I love you,

           I love you I shout it aloud to the teetering trees.

It’s the way your hair grows, it’s the splay of your toes, yes I love you.

           You’re as sweet as the scents of September borne up on the breeze.

As the North loves a magnet or cops love a dragnet, I love you

           In the darks of my heart, in the swells of the wandering wave.

As the Lady loves iron or Baptists love Zion, I love you.

           You’re as pure as poitin of Knockeen, and as sure as the grave.


You’re so fresh, you’re so funny, so bang on the money, I love you,

           As a packet of vinegar crisps loves a lager and lime.

You’re so slick, you’re so smart, so exclusive as art, and I love you,

           As an old-fashioned poet loves patterns of metre and rhyme.

As an old fashioned poet I love you, you know it, I love you,

           Though I’m crumpled and creased and obese and as ugly as sin.

I’m a popper of pills and I’m late with my bills and I love you,

           And a world with you in it’s a wonderful world to be in.

from Girlie Gangs (Enitharmon, 2011), © John Whitworth 2011, used by permission of the author and the publishers

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John Whitworth

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