Dogs and their poems
July 1, 2013 § 2 Comments
While procrastinating, tempted to do so by an article by Bruno Latour, I clicked my way absent-mindedly through the Facebook news feed until a post of a friend: Actor Jimmy Steward recites a poem to his beloved dog. That got me. It’s a touching and sweet and funny recitation.
It’s comforting to see that I’m not the only sentimental one who wrote a poem for the dog they lost. Jimmy Stewart is of course much more of a writer of poems than me, but still. It made me dig out the poem I wrote about my first dog, my kelpie Fin, when she was dying. I wanted to let my friends know where she was at; I had had an emotional day, struggling with the knowledge of what the impending loss would mean. Back then I was reading Patricia McConnell’s book For the Love of a Dog. In it she encourages dog owners to see themselves through their dog’s eyes. If the dogs could write down what we do around them (and sadly often to them), what would they write. I had started out trying to do that for Fin, but I ended up just wanting to write about Fin and me. And I wanted to share it with my friends. So I wrote that poem and emailed it to my friends back then.
While out for a walk with a friend and the dogs today, we talked about soul dogs. This made me think about my kelpie. It’s been more than a year since I lost her, and it still hurts. I still feel her. I still look down at my feet on walks and I still startle when she is not there. So here it goes.
Fin, to her human
I’ll be at your feet
While you write, while you read, and while you sleep.
Until I smell
an antechinus, or a mouse, or a cat.
Until I hear
the waterhose, with my neighbour,
waiting for me to come and play.
Until I sense
a tennis ball—somewhere, anywhere
Then I chase.
I come back and get you. Drop.
And your feet and my paws run together.
And later, when we sit down and look out at the world together
I lean into you
and you rub my belly
while I smile my kelpie smile.