When I carefully consider the curious habits of dogs
I am compelled to conclude
That man is the superior animal.
When I consider the curious habits of man
I confess, my friend, I am puzzled.
So wrote Ezra Pound in his Meditatio. Now Pound is, at very best, a “difficult” source of inspiration in our modern times, or in any times really, but I guess that just goes to show the danger of chucking babies out with bathwater.
I have always been struck by the vivid imagery hidden behind the first verse of this short piece.
I was going to say that I liked it, maybe because it conjures up visions of an unsavoury nature. Nevertheless I shall dwell on it because it serves my present purpose.
I must admit that I was also attracted by the lure of pun potential. Thoughts of dog pounds, pounds of flesh, dogsbodies, the dogged pursuit of profit, and so on, whirled around my head in a febrile storm.
How to fit them in? What vehicle might do the trick? In the end, I realised that I was just chasing my own tail and decided to move on.
So, what is it that Pound found so peculiar about the behaviour of dogs do we think?
I assume that he was not referring to their attributes like loyalty, obedience, intelligence, companionship, and so on, so lauded by the Cruft set. I also assume that he wasn’t thinking of dogs and their apparent desire to be trained to carry out tricks at their owners behest, or to seemingly enjoy endless hours of fun chasing after balls, sticks or other objects. Maybe he was consumed by the sight of dogs almost shaking themselves to pieces in a frenzy of tail-wagging, but given his other works, I suspect not.
I suspect that he was considering the baser activities of dogs; in particular considering other things they get up to with their noses and their balls. I’m sure that he intended the reader to give some thought to the shortfall in the activities of men. What do you reckon?
You will not be surprised to find that this is where my focus lies.
When I carefully consider the curious habits of parliamentarians, particularly male parliamentarians, I can see a remarkable shortfall in their behaviour compared to even the baser aspects of dogs.
The idea of pissing in corners to mark their territory, the brown nosing in the hope of advancement, the inability to understand the inadvisability of crapping on their own doorsteps, the tendency to jump on any passing female without so much as a by-your-leave, the pack instinct leading to braying and barking in the House of Commons, not to mention a complete lack of loyalty, makes me wonder too.
Pound may have been a fascist, but he wasn’t always wrong.