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"The House Dog's Grave"--a poem

The House Dog's Grave
by Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you,
If you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no,
All the nights through I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read‚
And I fear often grieving for me‚
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying.
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.

No, dears, that's too much hope:
You are not so well cared for as I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided...
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

(For Haig, an English bulldog.)



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
5th Jan, 2010 15:15 (UTC)
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door


We have paw marks like that, from our first Great Dane. Stormy (Thunder's mom, officially named Lady Storm's Rhapsody in Blue) was a dog apart from all others and we still miss her. I can't even imagine what we'll do when we lose Thunder. ::bawls some more::

And this: I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours. Gah. Beautiful, but ::bawls::
5th Jan, 2010 15:16 (UTC)
I understand. Every time I find another book whose cover Coney chewed... ::bawls::

Still... such a beautiful poem...

5th Jan, 2010 15:33 (UTC)
5th Jan, 2010 15:36 (UTC)
*Sniffles and wipes away a tear*

It's the back door, in our house, that still bears Fluffy's claw marks from where she used to hang onto the frame to peer in at us through the glass panel to let us know she wanted to come in.

*Sniffles some more*
5th Jan, 2010 15:43 (UTC)

i have been SO SCARED of roses dying of this lymph thing, for months now.

it's finally starting to recede, but....she's ten years old, i'm not sure when i'll quite be able to *stop* being scared....
5th Jan, 2010 18:33 (UTC)
I posted that after Mozart, our beloved border collie, had to be put to sleep, and just cry buckets every time I read it. My sister just had to have our elderly lab Josie put to sleep, and I've had the poem in my mind for the past couple of days.

7th Jan, 2010 02:47 (UTC)
That was my first experience with this poem, it's beautiful. If this were a year ago, when my kitty Tabby was fighting breast cancer I would have been a mess, we had to put her to sleep the end of the month :( I remember seeing this image: http://icanhascheezburger.com/2009/01/31/funny-pictures-dont-come-home-at-night/
And just crying my eyes out. Heartbreaking, even though you know they're better off and had a great life with you.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Shelley McKibbon


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