The House-Dog's Grave
(Haig, an English bulldog)
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
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
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
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
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
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.
by Gabriel Spera
I know how you feel—like someone rearranged
all the pictures on the wall, or slid the ring
from your finger. It’s awkward. Unsettling. Strange
Just remember what I taught you, and everything
will be alright. You’ll stand with your habitual
optimism at the back door, calling my name.
I won’t come, of course, but that’ll make the whole
seem normal, familiar, as ever all the same.
And in that moment, you’ll glance down, unsure
to feel relieved or sad to find no gift, small but
thoughtful, on the mat. And it will take forever
till you can open a can of anything and not
feel the press of my flanks, like a phantom limb,
against your shins. Until then, you’ll get no rest
listening for the catch and shred, at 2 a.m.,
of claws on the scratching post. When you do, at
dream again, you’ll see me in my favorite spot—
curled up on the couch I often let you share,
blissful in repose. Take this to heart: no matter
you’re doing or not doing, no matter where
you’ve opted not to be, savor your small expanse
of sun before it melts away in its travels
across the rug. And if a ball of joy should dance
across your path—pounce, before it all unravels.