The Power of a Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware 
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair, –
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!),
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone – wherever it goes – for good,
You will discover how much you care, 
And will give your heart to a dog to tear!

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent,
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long –
So why in – Heaven (before we are there) 
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

– Rudyard Kipling


6 thoughts on “The Power of a Dog

  1. I’m sending my love, Liz, and hopes for rapid healing. My favorite poet, Billy Collins, has some really good poems featuring dogs. His best, and one that may bring a bittersweet smile to your face, is “The Revenant”. Here’s a URL for a YouTube clip of Billy reading it if you’re feeling up to reading:

    I’m going to take a stab at part 4 of Steve’s story today & tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. The Revenant was charming, and it did make me smile. Amazing how it’s been over a week now without my boy. How time has the audacity to continue to move along, completely indifferent to my loss.

      I look forward to reading more about Steve. He was in trouble, if memory serves.

      Liked by 1 person

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