Why?

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Why?

Curiouser and curiouser
the vanishing smile
on the ginger cat
and wild dog dingo
grinning like a coal-scuttle,
why, oh why?

Who put the cur in curious?
Why was the dog-watch curtailed?
Cynicism, some say, and why
do we kneel before him,
heads bowed, waiting
the thumbs up, thumbs down,
of placet, placetne,
why, oh why?

Comment: Raw poem. I dreamed it up last night, but it wasn’t like this when it started. Cur: means why or what for in Latin and curs were large, mongrel dogs, bred for herding cattle in the Middle Ages. Cynicsm: because the cynics were also called ‘dogs’ partly for their shamelessness and partly for the faithful way they guarded their philosophical tenets. In Mexico, the Dominicans were often portrayed with dogs at their sides. The explanation: domini / of the Lord, -can / dog; hence they were the faithful guard dogs of the Lord. Placet: it pleases in Latin; the thumbs up sign that allowed the defeated gladiator to live, not die. “In any event, the final decision of death or life belonged to the editor, who signalled his choice with a gesture described by Roman sources as pollice verso meaning ‘with a turned thumb’ a description too imprecise for reconstruction of the gesture or its symbolism” (Gladiator: Wikipedia).

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