Barking Dogs and Racing Legs – Lou Marin

Barking Dogs and Racing Legs


My Great Grand Dad, it may be noted,
landed on the docks of Portland, Maine,
near penniless, with but his dreams,
a pair of patched dungarees,
dirty jacket and a brown derby, sun-faded.


He had on his feet a brand new pair
of brogan shoes, stove-black polished,
that were two sizes too big for
his wandering, dancing Irish feet.
“Stop thief! That Paddy stole my shoes!”


Great Grand Dad had ‘found’ the brogues
near the starboard rail, sun drying
on an old Dublin Times as he told the tale.
“Who would wrap a pair of new shoes
in faded newsprint, like old fish guts
ready to be tossed into the dustbin?”


Being new to this land of opportunity,
he had a strong desire to remain free,
so he hit the cobblestone street
at the end of the dock running
like all the banshees of old Ireland chased him.


He huffed and puffed up Wharf Street,
gathering a small cavalry of dogs,
amid the curses of, “damned Paddy stop,”
and “Not fit to sleep with hogs!”
His racing legs bore him on,
until he dove behind some barrels to hide.


Twenty minutes later, he judged all clear,
he wandered from hiding, looked in a shop window, near.
Eyes so brown and gentle he met with alarm,
Almost ran again, until he worked courage up.
Tipped his derby and knowing not how to court,
walked into the shop, bold as could be.


My Great Granddad, fresh from County Cork,
spent a week in jail for stealing shoes,
but met the love of his young life,
a lady who helped him adapt, amid strife.
He became an American working and family man,
who begat strong sons in his adopted homeland.


Lou Marin was born and raised in the western hills of Maine, then spent 20 plus years wandering the country and world in the United States Air Force. He is a published poet and short story writer who now mostly writes faith based devotionals. He lives in Bethel, Maine. His five poetry anthologies, published by Publish America and entitled, Awash With Words, Old Waves, New Beaches, Whisper of Waves, and Sea To Shining Sea, Version 1 and 2, are available in print and online.