There was this dog

Faced with the disturbing reality that, to end the painful, troubled life of the family dog is somehow still better than watching a once remarkable animal descend into incontinent, sorrowful chaos, to wit…

There was this dog

For Skittles


Sullen cries, all joy despise

when blind even All-Seeing eyes –

there was this dog.


Turbid seas, invited see

what men in better times might be –

there was this dog.


Gathered moss, a grey-green toss

of silt and muck and sun-less loss –

there was this dog.


Darkened days, all hope a haze

delight could spare no time or trace –

there was this dog.


When fortune called, new joy installed,

instead of dark, did grace befall –

there was this dog.


Unnerving sounds, made still hearts pound,

her swift, sharp sound brought courage found –

there was this dog.


Children’s songs, if one or thronged

her faithful joy to them belonged –

there was this dog.


Days alone, unwelcome won,

kisses, wet, when we got home –

there was this dog.


Time has come, when pipe and drum,

ne’er fully celebrates this one –

there was this dog.


There is this dog.

4 thoughts on “There was this dog

  1. Rae

    There was this dog, who comforted and shepherded us through so many trials. There was this dog, who kept impeccable time, she knew when it was time to take Graeme to school and pick him up, because he was one of her sheep. There was this dog, that loved cat food, especially Tuna. There was this dog, who knows what horrors she lived in her early years before she came to love us. When 4 family members give her as much as love as they can, and it doesn’t even come close to how much love she gave….there was this dog, and her name was Skittles.


  2. Laura

    James Dickey has a poem for these occasions:

    The Heaven of Animals

    Here they are. The soft eyes open.   
    If they have lived in a wood
    It is a wood.
    If they have lived on plains
    It is grass rolling
    Under their feet forever.

    Having no souls, they have come,   
    Anyway, beyond their knowing.   
    Their instincts wholly bloom   
    And they rise.
    The soft eyes open.

    To match them, the landscape flowers,   
    Outdoing, desperately
    Outdoing what is required:
    The richest wood,
    The deepest field.

    For some of these,
    It could not be the place
    It is, without blood.
    These hunt, as they have done,
    But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

    More deadly than they can believe.   
    They stalk more silently,
    And crouch on the limbs of trees,   
    And their descent
    Upon the bright backs of their prey

    May take years
    In a sovereign floating of joy.   
    And those that are hunted   
    Know this as their life,
    Their reward: to walk

    Under such trees in full knowledge   
    Of what is in glory above them,   
    And to feel no fear,
    But acceptance, compliance.   
    Fulfilling themselves without pain

    At the cycle’s center,
    They tremble, they walk   
    Under the tree,
    They fall, they are torn,   
    They rise, they walk again.

    — James L. Dickey


    1. Laura, under such circumstances, poems of this nature are just the heart-crushing experiences needed to squeeze the puss out of a blinding sorrow.

      Thanks for sharing this.


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