Robinson Jeffers. An American poet perhaps best remembered for the fact that his poem '' The Beaks of Eagles " was turned into a song by The Beach Boys. I'd read this poem of his '' The House Dog's Grave " before and remembered it as a sentimental little piece bordering on the melancholic. Then, somehow, by accident , I stumbled across it again. What a difference a re-reading makes. That understated first line '' I've changed my ways a little " a miracle of optimism and acceptance. Au Revoir not Adieu. Genius. When I first skimmed through the poem I thought the line was said by the dead dogs owner. His dog gone he's changed his daily routine. Now I see that it's the peaceful musing of the dead dog.
The best dog poem ever ? Perhaps ?
The House Dog's Grave ( 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 night 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 then when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope : you are not so well cared for
As I have been.
And never have know 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. 1941.