Brett Reid – ‘Islands of the Dogs’

‘Islands of the Dogs’

Growing up, I couldn’t escape
the facts. My Boys’ Book of Knowledge
took care of that. To slip a straightjacket
Harry Houdini would dislocate a should-
er, even underwater. 111 decibels
is the loudest snore recorded.

The Canary Islands (Canariae Insulae)
are an archipelago named after dogs
not the sentinels employed to sniff
British pits from 1911 to 1986.
A hummingbird’s heart can tick
1,200 times in one minute.

The human heart has a double pump
action. It shoots blood at the body and lungs.
That’s all it does. It’s not, as once believed,
the seat of reason or love, does not
choose violent or lame-minded men
for husbands, or harridans for wives, isn’t

to blame for the music for the wedding dance,
possesses no intelligence beyond its
four-chambered design, has never heard of
Unchained Melody
the only song to simultaneously have
four versions in the UK top 20.


Unchained Melody was composed by Alex North (music) and Hy Zaret (lyrics)for the 1955 film Unchained. The song was made famous by the Righteous Brothers in 1965.

Brett Reid

Brett Reid lives in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, with his Irish-born wife Helen. They have recently returned home after living in Ireland for three years. When not working at his day job, and not reading or writing poetry, Brett’s likely to be riding his bike, swimming (ocean and pool), or
spending time with his two grown sons (whom he can now have a cold pint with on a hot Saturday afternoon). Brett has previously been published in takahē magazine. ‘Islands of the Dogs’ won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2021) judged by Oz Hardwick.

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