A few years ago, we were lucky enough to travel to Europe and spent two weeks in Italy. One dreary day we boarded a bus for a day trip to Pompeii. After the obligatory (buy something here or we won’t let you back on) stops, we arrived at a blue-sky Pompeii. It’s an amazing place, but having seen quite a number of ruins we were almost inured to the tragedy that occured here. It was just too hard to fathom, and we were distracted by the glimpses of life, rather than the horror of death.
Then I saw the dog. It was a cast of a dog also preserved by the ash and stone. It wasn’t on display really, but in a locked up cage that housed rows and rows of amphora and other artefacts in various states of repair. I wrote about it in my trip diary but also sketched out a poem about the dog. Somehow the dog’s obvious agony gave the human tragedy a voice.
The poem, Pompeii Dog has just been accepted by Moving Galleries and will shortly appear in a Melbourne train carriage, to be read by commuters. Fantastic thought that, taking the poetry to the people.