The Doggone Poet by Terveen Gill

Shanta was a poet. At least he thought he was.

He could make words rhyme and place them in separate lines. That was his definition of poetry.

His third-grade teacher had praised his poem – ‘I Love My Mummy’ to the skies. Though there was nothing praiseworthy to it, the teacher’s four-year affair with Shanta’s mother could have been the reason for it.

Shanta’s friends and relatives which totaled to two and four respectively, gave the growing boy a wrong assessment of his talent. So after high school instead of attending college, Shanta picked up a pen and notebook and filled page upon page with verses that had no head or tail, nor rhyme or reason.

Ten notebooks, filled to their pages’ limits, seemed enough to submit to several publishers, but Shanta never heard from any of them. He never thought that his poetry could be at fault. It was more the negligence of insincere professionals.

If no one would print his poems, then he’d simply stand at street corners and sing them.

And Shanta got quite an audience. Seven dogs and a crazy parrot. The dogs howled along while the parrot squawked and flew in circles barely missing Shanta’s egg-shaped head. It seemed humans were a tougher lot to impress.

So like the Pied Piper, Shanta roamed the streets belting out his poetry while his dog following grew in number. They marched behind Shanta like he was their messiah. The parrot perched itself upon Shanta’s shoulder, screaming when it felt like it.

The procession and ruckus were a sight to behold, and people flocked to the streets and their balconies. No one knew the man or the animals, but they laughed and cheered like it was appropriate.

When Shanta stopped to bow and wave, the animals skittered away. The parrot dug its beak into the man’s cheek leaving him bloody before flying away.

The poet learnt his lesson and now never stops his poetry procession. He walks and sings day and night with hundreds of dogs and an annoyed, green parrot. People offer what they can. The man, dogs, and parrot grow fatter.

Turns out, Shanta’s poetry was too complicated for people.

30 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. Maybe that’s why publishers not interested in my stuff – too complicated. Oh well, cest la vie…..

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Haha! I think many of us can relate to that, Don. We’re probably aiming for the wrong audience. 🙂

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      1. Publishers will only take what’s in fashion and what sells. Then again are we writing for ourselves or for an audience in the hope publishers will accept it and make money for us.? hmmm….

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  2. Diti Sen dice:

    Perhaps its because dogs and maybe birds too, seem to understand feelings better than humans. Very telling and so neatly expressed!

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thank you so much, Diti! I agree, birds and animals are on an entirely different frequency. Their senses are keener and probably better than humans. Haha! 🙂

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  3. johnlmalone dice:

    good to have one dedicated admirer though: that annoyed green parrot stuck with him through thick and thin 🙂

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      That’s one Polly that needed poetry more than a cracker. Haha. Thanks so much, John. 🙂

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  4. This is a wild idea! I would be certainly curious to see the parade of poet & parrot with dogs — and to hear the poetry 🙂

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      It would be a sight to see and some bewitching sounds to hear. We humans are definitely inquisitive but an unappreciative lot. Thanks a ton, Dave. 🙂

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  5. haoyando dice:

    Yes, he is ahead of his time, too nuanced for his contemporaries. So true. It is hard to know if one really has the talent. Art is such a risk–if you don’t pursue it, you might condemn your own talents; if you pursue it, you might be a fool on a futile journey.

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      I agree with you completely, Haoyan. I was recently watching a video by a psychologist who condemned the statement that – everyone is creative. He said that this wasn’t true and that being creative wasn’t a bed of roses. Creating something is simply 5% of the entire process. The rest is marketing, finding an audience, and giving them something they’ve never seen, heard, or had before. Phew! A lot of work!
      Thanks so much. 🙂

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  6. jonicaggiano dice:

    I love this as in many ways it is simply a reflection of the truth. Poetry is like styles of clothing. Fashion lasts if it is comfortable and makes women look good. Poetry styles come and go but great works from centuries ago are still great works. Great piece and so very true. Well put Terveen, with some great humor. I hope you and your family get some great time off for the holidays. Sending appreciation and congratulations on the on line publication of MasticadoresIndia. 🤗 Joni Happy Holidays

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thank you so much, Joni! I truly cherish your wishes and pray that you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas and new year. I love the comparison of writing to fashion. It doesn’t suit everyone and what fits one may not fit another. It’s pretty much subjective, but bad writing can’t be camouflaged for too long. Haha! Take care and much peace, love, and joy. 🙂

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      1. jonicaggiano dice:

        You are so welcomed. You made me laugh yet again. “But bad writing can’t be camouflaged for too long,” so very true.

        I wanted to congratulate you on your wonderful success with MasticadoresIndia. For the holidays I hope you take time off and enjoy your time with family and that your Christmas is blessed as well. You take care as well. Sending peace love and joy back. Hugs Joni

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  7. I loved the piece. I always envy poets and painters because I think their works are harder to label as bad compared to a more identifiable standard for bad writing.

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      I will have to one hundred percent agree with you, Geoff. Poetry and art are much more open to interpretation and delivering varied meanings. Plain writing is more of – what you read is what you get. Not fair but then nothing really is. Thanks a lot! 🙂

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  8. How refreshingly surreal 😀

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Haha! Thanks so much, David. It would be quite a sight. 🙂

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  9. I believe you, Terveen. Made me laugh. Loved the write,

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thanks so much, Shobana. I appreciate it. 🙂

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  10. tony espino dice:

    Damn! A four year affair?! Lol! I like how Shanta is only one letter off from Santa and you even have a messiah mention. I don’t know if that was intentional, but it’s still fun. I appreciate you giving him an audience that loves him like he’s a singing dog bone. I think he would’ve had better luck with publishers if he told them it was poetry for people. Maybe they didn’t get the memo. Oh well. I guess Shanta is destined to walk and walk and walk. 🙂

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Tony, your comments are always so thoughtful and a mixture of what’s been, what is, and what might be. Shanta could be a spin-off of Santa. He is appealing to the dogs, so that’s definitely a brownie point for him. I hope he walks, and walks, and walks and his poetry never stops. The humans will just have to accept that they ain’t smart enough. Haha! Thanks so much! Take care. 🙂

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  11. Jeff Flesch dice:

    Hahaha. That’s a fantastic story, Terveen. I adore the characters name, Shanta. Hahahaha. You’ve given me a wonderful laugh this evening, my friend. Thank you. ☺️ Have a lovely holiday season, Terveen.

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thanks so much, Jeff. I’m glad that Shanta could be a source of laughs and some much needed cheer. I wish the best for you always and please enjoy the holidays. Take care. 🙂

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      1. Jeff Flesch dice:

        You’re welcome, Terveen. Always. Thank you for the well wishes, my dear friend. ☺️

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  12. BBYCGN dice:

    This is such an intriguing and intelligent piece. I am going to think about it for awhile!

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    1. Terveen Gill dice:

      Thanks a lot, Tamara. I think animals and birds are a brighter lot than many humans. You’ll probably agree. All the best. 🙂

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      1. BBYCGN dice:

        I concur to a high degree.

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