Dirty Dogs Campaign: This foul mess: A poet protest

Andrew Motion: The grass bit in our square clearly says No Dogs, and it's knee-deep in dog shit, as are most of the parks and most of the streets. The kids are always picking it up and we run through it with the buggy wheels. It's time to put our foot down - but carefully.

It Is An Offence

The man in the flats opposite keeps a whippet

(once a racer) and two or three times a week

it craps by my front door - sloped, weary turds

like a single file of slugs in battle fatigues

(surprisingly slow for a whippet) - so that often

my shoes, my wife's, our children's bring it back home

to the stairs, the skirting, the carpets, the kitchen tiles

in bobbles or flakes or hanks or outrageous slithery smears.

The sad old dog doesn't know what he's doing, and yet

I'd still like to cover his arsehole with quick-set cement.

I admit that I also yearn to leave my mark on society,

and not see machines or people trample it foolishly.

On the one hand it's only shit; on the other, shit's shit,

and what we desire in the world is less, not more, of it.

From Love in a Life (Faber pounds 6.99)

(Photograph omitted)