BTT #46: From Walls of Silence

“The Dog” by Francisco Goya.  Painted in privacy on the walls of his home.  Transferred with great difficulty and some damage  well after his death for public viewing. It is not known if the murals in his home were ever intended for public view.

From Walls of Silence

A dog lifts its

Head in the desert.

Decapitated or otherwise

Disembodied or maybe

Just buried,

It seems to rest

Upon a curved patch

Of something brown

Which could be

The infant slopings

Of a mountain

Or a grave or

A dune of sand or maybe

Just the ephemera

Of tenacious clinging

That first envelops

Then consumes

Leaving only the

Cocked ears and

Thirsting mouth and

Pleading eyes

Fixed upon the

Expanse of dirty yellow sky

Empty save for a

Beckoning shadow

In the air.

Is this death

Or mercy or just an

Unknown darkness

Waiting over and around us

With impassive disregard?

We don’t know

If it was even

Supposed to be there.

Was it damage

Inflicted as murals

Were impossibly removed

To be set upon

Canvas far from the

Imprisoning walls of

A Silent house?

Or was it a living shade

Fighting its way out

From dark and lonely

Corners of a mind?

No matter.

In any event

The dog’s head still

Lies there

Like the

Patrons and visitors

Who now gaze upon it

With pinching suspicion

They may not know

If they themselves are

Even living or

Already dead,

Or maybe merely dying

Alone upon a hilltop,

Eyes still searching,

Ears filled with

Mounds of stillness,

Mouths pasted open,

Outstretched bodies hidden

Maybe praying

Surely begging

And finally

Each one waiting

In the long and crumpled


For a single




Posted for dVerse Open Link Night hosted by Frank Hubeny.

All rights reserved for text by Lona Gynt, November 2018


Luna Schlosser: Miles, did you ever realize that “God” spelled backwards is “Dog”?

Miles Monroe: Yeah. So?

Luna Schlosser: It makes you think.

From “Sleeper” by Woody Allen, 1973








42 thoughts on “BTT #46: From Walls of Silence

  1. You should be a tour guide at an art museum. I love the ambiguity of death and mercy and how later, the decapitated (might as well) dog becomes a reflection for the improbable viewers. Is this death? Is this mercy? And the moving of the private mural adds a new element to that question, the dog’s head exhumed for anthropological study. Brilliant, Lona!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amaya, your insights and thoughtful reading once again move me tremendously, I thought it sad that the murals were moved, in so doing it added elements that we don’t know whether they were part of the painting or damage from the move. When I was young we participated in Natural History museum field trip that included gawking at a Native American’s remains, the sacrilege still makes me weep. We get pulled in.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A fantastic ekphrastic verse — I was into it as soon as I saw the Goya mural — it has always excited me and made me wonder of the loneliness of being and the minuscule representation in a wide expanse. Your perspective and reverie and the underlying symbols and interpretations make it all the more interesting — the existential question reaches its peak in the wonderment over the death of the subject, of the artist, of the spectator. The short lines and the pace are also very well done. And I really liked this centerfold acting as a switch from an isolated view to a very personal one: “We don’t know/If it was even/Supposed to be there.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A strange meditation on a strange mural, equally freighted with uncertainty amid a density of mood too heavy for a heart to assuage, though the eye is game and, well, dogged. The dog’s head is anonymous and existential, like a human abandoned by god perhaps, certainly without audience though it is the sad center of the mural and poem. I’m left not knowing what to think though I feel leaden and sad for the dog and for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a sad uncertain time for Goya when he painted these murals. We are faced with this, hoping we can find ways to comfort each other when we can. Thank you Brendan, it is sad, this mural is so simple and universal.


      1. I missed that it was Goya, I took the sense of an anonymous mural by someone who never thought it would see the light of day. I look at that poor doggie differently after “Saturn Devouring His Son.” The animal is probably thinking she’s next …

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, although Goya himself never revealed any names for the black paintings, there is so much ambiguity and, as Jane said above, conjecture with this piece, I prefer just calling it “The Dog.” Maybe drowning, maybe she is the genius that started the whole ball rolling but is stuck in her conundrum. To quote Luna Schlosser “makes you think” although I believe Dog does not have the same anagram in Spanish 🤔😏


    1. Thank you Laura, I am glad about your comment on the phrasing, it is satisfying for a poet when a lock is successfully picked. This dog gives me a feeling that each gasp is hungry and brief and interminably long and feels insignificant in comparison to the sky. Thank you for your insightful reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rob Kistner

    Woe Lona, do much in a mural – all of life… this was powerful… l see a dog, coming up out of a valley, eyes searching ahead, to a future he seeks. Wonderful verse, and fascinating image… 🙂

    …rob from Image & Verse
    Lost in Azure

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jim, it is a place we will be or have been. I hope someone will be there to scratch my ears when I get stuck like this poor puppy someday. Your kind words mean ever so much to me.


    1. Thank you so much Jane, I think so much about Goya in those later years, deaf, alone, angry at the march of war, marginalized… and raw, brilliant, and honest. I really appreciate your compliment my friend.


  5. You bring up a good perspective (from the dog’s side). I specially like this thought provoking question:

    Is this death

    Or mercy or just an

    Unknown darkness

    Waiting over and around us

    With impassive disregard?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you, what a great description of a poetic process. Like we have one of those spectral ghostbuster cameras 👻 🙂. I guess so much of poetry is trying to give form to the invisible world. Goya does that brilliantly in this picture, the focal point is if this poor suffering creature looking upward to… what? We don’t know, it’s invisible or has only a vague form and may have just been damage from moving it, so many questions, but that is what draws us in. This Ars Poetica comment of yours truly made my day, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We are all of us a deep mystery, aren’t we? This painting for me somehow elicits for me a sense of compassion that ameliorates for me to some degree the darkness in the other Goya Dark Paintings.


    1. I don’t disagree, we do our best, it was done out of love when they were moved. I find it really interesting how it introduces unfathomable questions inherently into the piece. A magnification perhaps, of the participation each viewer or caretaker has with the art, MAYBE becoming a part of the piece. I am glad you made your observation Hank, thank you so much. 💜


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