The White Dogs

Blaise Cendrars
Blaise Cendrars

It’s about that time again. Time to reiterate for all you stragglers who may not have gotten it an explanation for the existence of whatever exactly is going on here.  Spring is here and spring is a time of renewal.  That’s what the old man always said.

In a way that disclaimer ‘It’s Not About The Dogs’ isn’t true.  It is about the dogs, but the dogs in the poem, the samoyed dogs that were, or are, “climbing up” onto that ship in English Bay sometime about 1912.  The dogs in Blaise Cendrars’ poem “Vancouver”.  Right?  Were they real?

It doesn’t matter if the whole thing was fiction.  That the poet, Blaise Cendrars, the Frenchman, just imagined it.  Just imagined those “shape-shifting Samoyeds” as Mr. Colin Browne so eloquently put in in his introduction to a section in issue 3.23 / Spring 2014 of The Capilano Review devoted to Monsieur Cendrars, and whether or not he was ever actually in Vancouver.  Mr. Browne subsequently challenged me to a duel, but I just don’t have any time for that right now.

IMG_0385For back information on this controversy you may want to look into the archives August 2014.  Archives.  Imagine.

“We bump against the dark bulk of the ship and on the
Starboard quarter Samoyed dogs are climbing up
Flaxen in the gray-white-yellow
As if fog was being taken in freight”

There ain’t but one way to explain things and this here is it.  It’s 1912.  The dogs.  Climbing up.  Grimpent des chiens samoyèdes.  Cool.  Yes?  No?  As if fog was being taken in freight?  Fog?  As freight?  Anybody?  Dogs?  Woof?

IMG_0436So that was it.  The creative idea.  The confusing, perhaps a little, perhaps not, self-indulgent reason why this thing is called samoyeddogs and isn’t about the dogs.

Those creepy, cuddly, fluffy, white, dog hair-bearing quadrupeds that you can read about anywhere but here.  That’s them.  Altogether now:  “Samoyeddogs are climbing up, climbing up…”


Coming soon:  “The White Dog”.



Author: Steven Brown


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