by Poet on the Piano   Jun 24, 2016

You lived and laughed
at every moving being,
no matter if a squirrel
or a biker smiled and
teased you with dreams
of running until your lungs
filled to their maximum level.

Your words were never
too sharp for my skin -
an audible love I tried
to compose onto all
the lost memories that
seemed to drown me.

And the neighbors, and
my friends and family
all cheered to the "new" you
yet I can't celebrate a
precious sound that's fading
into the wind.

Your bark, your
insanely rambunctious
heart - now softened
and I cannot hear
its roaring thunder
when I fall asleep.

It's much too quiet;
the silence of a soul...


So backstory: My brother jokingly sent me a link to a Wikipedia page about the surgical procedure of devocalization... because my beagle/ basset hound is a loud dog. I had no idea this was actually done on dogs and cats. Apparently, it's only legal in some places but can be forced upon the dog/ cat in a court order. Also can serve as an alt. form of euthanasia. In some areas of the UK and US, it's considered "surgical mutilation". And also, "Chronic, excessive vocalization may be due to improper socialization or training, stress, boredom, fear, or frustration."


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Latest Comments

  • 1 year ago

    by BlueJay

    Judging Comment:

    I had to look up what the procedure of devocalization was because this was absolutely heartbreaking. Not that I have any pets or anything, but this still put me into a trance of just how horrible the world can be to beings it doesn't fully understand. There was so much passionate personality in this piece as though something so terrible had actually affected the author, and the audience. The diction and syntax were spot on for the poignant devastation this projected upon me in all my read-throughs (1 through about 10). Even though the end was captivating, and the true punch every piece needs, the thing I feel deserves the most praise in this piece is the introduction and how smoothly it pulls the reader in without many questions being asked, but the story already missing something - if that makes sense. "I cannot hear its roaring thunder when I fall asleep" instantly cleared up to me, why so many people find their pets to be so comforting. Absolutely phenomenal piece.

  • 2 years ago

    by Em

    So sad!! :(
    Have to agree with Ben, it's usually the owners!!

    Great though sad write, Em

  • 2 years ago

    by Ben Pickard


    This is an excellent piece of writing that moved me immensely.
    I have to be honest, until the "your bark" stanza, I had no idea that the piece was about a dog specifically which is testament to how emotive it is because I wasn't less moved because of that, if that makes sense.
    Also, the process itself is new to me - I had no idea that this procedure took place anywhere in the world - it seems barbaric.
    As you so rightly point out in your footnote, I daresay most animals that behave in this manner are more a product of their upbringing (now, what does that remind me of?) and are, in fact, a more accurate reflection of their owners ineptitude rather than their own shortcomings. There are certainly dogs near me that bark to the point of distraction, but it is the owners that need 'devocalizing'.

    A stunning and original piece, both emotive and thought-provoking and - in my opinion - all good art should be at least one of those things. Nominated

    Take care and all the best,

    • 2 years ago

      by Poet on the Piano

      Indeed, Ben. Thank you so much for reading and leaving your thoughts. Appreciate it!