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Friday, July 6, 2012

Poetry Friday


On Wednesday, Jack, my sweet, crazy, goofy, always up for a game of fetch, scared of his own shadow mama's boy, four-year-old lab/rottweiler had to be put down.  It was totally unexpected, but he was a canine garbage disposal and would eat anything- socks, underwear, cookie wrappers-- and this time, he evidently ate something that caused an intestinal obstruction, that could not be repaired. I went looking for a poem in honor of my sweet guy and found an essay, instead, so I turned it into a found poem, or kind of a poem anyway.

Where To Bury A Dog

There are various places 
within which a dog may be buried. 
We are thinking now of a setter, 
whose coat was flame in the sunshine, 
and who, so far as we are aware, 
never entertained a mean 
or an unworthy thought. 

This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, 
under four feet of garden loam,
 and at its proper season the cherry 
strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. 

Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, 
or any flowering shrub of the garden, 
is an excellent place to bury a good dog. 

Beneath such trees, 
such shrubs, 
he slept in the drowsy summer, 
or gnawed at a flavorous bone, 
or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. 

These are good places, 
in life or in death. 
Yet it is a small matter, 
and it touches sentiment 
more than anything else.

For if the dog be well remembered, 
if sometimes he leaps through your dreams 
actual as in life, 
eyes kindling, 
questing, 
asking, 
laughing, 
begging, 
it matters not at all 
where that dog sleeps 
at long and at last. 

On a hill where the wind is unreduced 
and the trees are roaring, 
or beside a stream 
he knew in puppyhood, 
or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, 
where most exhilarating cattle graze. 

It is all one to the dog, 
and all one to you, 
and nothing is gained, 
and nothing lost -- 
if memory lives. 

But there is one best place 
to bury a dog. 
One place that is best of all.
If you bury him in this spot, 
the secret of which you must already have, 
he will come to you when you call -- 
come to you over the grim, 
dim frontiers of death, 
and down the well-remembered path, 
and to your side again. 
And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel 
they should not growl at him, 
nor resent his coming, 
for he is yours and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, 
who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, 
who hear no whimper 
pitched too fine for mere audition, 
people who may never really have had a dog. 
Smile at them then, 
for you shall know something that is hidden from them, 
and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place 
to bury a good dog 
is in the heart of his master.

by Ben Hur Lampman


Tabatha is hosting Poetry Friday at The Opposite of Indifference.

8 comments:

Linda at teacherdance said...

Exactly, Carol. You've made this into a beautiful tribute to your sweet dog. I'm so sorry for the loss. We once had a garbage dog, too, & although she didn't have the unfortunate time yours did, keeping her out of things was not easy. I love this: "and nothing is gained,
and nothing lost --
if memory lives." Thank you for this. I have a few friends with whom I will share.

Michelle said...

Oh, so sorry to hear about your sweet Jack. I love the last lines of your created/found poem -
"The one best place
to bury a good dog
is in the heart of his master."

The house will even be that much more quieter.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Tears upon reading this, Carol. So sorry for your loss.

I thought we'd be doing the same last Saturday for our old hound mix, but he's decided he's a cat and has nine lives. So it's one (more) day at a time for him and I'm thankful for each one.

You must still be reeling from the shock of losing a young dog - I'm sure he had a most splendid life with you. *hugs*

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Oh, I am so sorry Carol - and this so soon after you son left for college! I just had to read this aloud to my dog, Sophie - she seemed to understand it, especially these lines:
It is all one to the dog,
and all one to you,
and nothing is gained,
and nothing lost --
if memory lives.
....and memory lives, indeed, for your family.

Mary Lee said...

"he will come to you when you call"

Jack will always be in your heart, and because you shared him generously with us, he will always live in ours as well. God speed, good dog.

Tabatha said...

"he will come to you when you call -- come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again."

Please accept my condolences, Carol. Losing a pet is so hard. Our 17-year-old dog died in April, and I had seen it coming for a couple of years, but it was still tough. Thanks for this found poem.

Laura Benson said...

I am so profoundly sorry, Carol. You have our love and support xoxoxo

Laura Benson said...

I am so profoundly sorry, Carol. You have our love and support xoxoxo