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The Mastiff

The Mastiff

The mastiff Velázquez immortalized

in Las meninas must have had a name,

which, sadly, seems to have been lost. Though prized

for strength of character, the poor dog’s fame

has been impaired. A playwright used “León,”

perhaps a compliment, perhaps a dart

at Spain’s reduced prestige. Rare wits will hone

themselves on any fixture for their art.

That court pet is a solid presence in

the picture, there’s no doubt of that.  A sphinx,

He gazes toward the viewer’s left. We’ve been

there:  ages past, with all their iron links.

The artist gazes at us, takings pains,

his dog surveying galleries full of chains.

Dan Campion