Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Friday, November 2, 2012

Carousel Dogs

He was a large dog by Thai standards
but old, mangy, infirm and tough to look at.
He had that thousand-yard stare of a war vet,
and watched me cross the bridge.  He did not
threaten me and I did not acknowledge him.
Halfway home I noticed he was following
me with a painful hobby-horse gait.  I raised
my arm as if I was going to throw a rock –
a sure sign to skedaddle to Thai dogs –
but he did not move, he did not even cock
his head in wonder as Nipper at his master’s
voice, he just looked at me with that
thousand-yard stare.  Twenty yards farther
on I picked up a rock and winged it at him. 
There was a time I could have said,
“Pick an eye, left or right” and two out
of three times from this distance I could
have stuck a rock in it, but now an old man
with no shoulder turn, no body twist, no arm
travel, no bow like whip, the rock missed
and rattled harmlessly to the gutter.
Christ sake, I thought, I throw like a girl.

When I got home, my wife was at her
road-side stand.  I pointed to the dog
and she immediately understood.

“The dog had a farang owner who left.
He saw you and thought maybe you
were the farang who left.”

Just then my wife’s mother charged
the old boy swearing in Thai-dog speak
which neither side has any trouble

The dog raised his head as if he was
going to rear, but all he could do
was turn stiffly and like a carousel horse
lope off in his painful hobby-horse gait.

Some things in a foreign land you never

FG 1 November 2012

All rights reserved by the author Forrest Greenwood.

Farang is the Thai word for foreigner ("Far" for French and "Ang" for angkrit - English).  Maybe