Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Robert Johnson and the Black Dog

Poetry Thursday suggests: impossible dialogues. This is more of a monologue.

Black dog, I heard you howl. What is it tonight—
are you mourner, guardian, hellhound on a trail?
Why did you call me from my unblessed grave?
Down at the crossroads there’s a luckless fool
waiting for midnight. All right. I know the rule:
he gets one warning, from a ghostly slave
(that’s me) and a black dog (you). Call off the sale,
idiot, go back to church, straighten up, fly right.

There he goes in panic. It won’t last for long.
He’ll be back here, offering up his soul
in exchange for talent, happiness, good luck, money
and all the other stupid things men think they want.
He’ll end as a wailing, chain-dragging haunt
like me or Marley. Black dog, it strikes me funny
sometimes, lying sleepless in my hole,
what it takes to keep young men from going wrong.

Visit the Sufi Poetry Carnival here on May 28th 2007.

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