Thursday, May 14, 2009

The House Dog

I’m a dog guy. I might as well admit it because anyone who knows the least about me has found it apparent. Many different dogs have shared their lives with me and I became the primary beneficiary. Some had “papers”, some were born on the property they considered their own, some just wandered in, some caught my eye and heart in a shelter and others were a gift. No; they all were a gift.

They came in a dazzling variety of shapes, colors, hair length, tail configuration, training accomplishment, personalities, size, weight and mix of breed. Each shared a common trait with the other; the return of the absolute love I had for them. My memory of each is more clear in my mind than most of the rest of my recollections. No matter how long they graced my presence, their imprint is there to remind me of that so scarce commodity—faithfulness.

They were all alike in so many ways and yet each offered a distinct individual personality. Some were sleepers and some were doers. Some trained easily and others were incorrigible. All were beautiful in my eyes.

I didn’t know Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) and after some brief research discover that we share little other than our concern for nature and dogs. His capture of Haig and their mutual love is inescapable. Read this carefully and without a tear and I will conclude I don’t really know you or you have never enjoyed the love of a dog.

The House Dog’s Grave (for Haig, an English Bulldog)

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.

— Robinson Jeffers

Thank you for reading. Rubber, Kaiser, Buster, Silver, Blackie, Grambling, Maynard, Sally, Clancy, Zoram, Ashley, Gus and Maggie thank you as well.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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