Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Power of the Dog

Okay, dog lovers, get out your Kleenex! I saw this poem on the Flickr Photostream of Back in the Pack, on a post of a picture where he was saying goodbye to a faithful companion of 14 years. Sniff!

The Power of the Dog, by Rudyard Kipling

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 for 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 for the 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?


Andrea said...

Dang it, Molly! I started reading this thinking, "Whatever. It's not going to actually make me cry." Uh huh....I'm going to go kiss my puppy's noses now.

Melodee said...

I just assigned this poem to my lit students; we're studying Kipling this week. It reminds me that the first real poem I ever wrote was written the morning after my dog died. (I was 11...the dog was only 6 1/2.)

Julie said...

This brings back the all too real of losing my last dog. If I hadn't alraedy possessed another one, I likely wouldn't have bought one after that. I guess you have to be a dog lover to get it. From time to time I still recall funny things about that dog!