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My new favorite dog poem

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"A Dog on His Master."

 

"As young as I look, I am growing older faster than he.

Seven to one is the ratio, they tend to say.

Whatever the number, I will pass him one day and take the lead,

the way I do on our walks in the woods,

and if this ever manages to cross his mind,

it would be the sweetest shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass."

 

Billy Collins (former US Poet Laureate)

 

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4 hours ago, maineman said:

"A Dog on His Master."

 

"As young as I look, I am growing older faster than he.

Seven to one is the ratio, they tend to say.

Whatever the number, I will pass him one day and take the lead,

the way I do on our walks in the woods,

and if this ever manages to cross his mind,

it would be the sweetest shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass."

 

Billy Collins (former US Poet Laureate)

 

 

That's a doggone good poem.

 

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On 10/12/2018 at 8:50 PM, TDS said:

 

That's a doggone good poem.

 

 

But also very very sad.

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On 10/12/2018 at 2:17 PM, maineman said:

"As young as I look, I am growing older faster than he.

Seven to one is the ratio, they tend to say.

Whatever the number, I will pass him one day and take the lead,

the way I do on our walks in the woods,

and if this ever manages to cross his mind,

it would be the sweetest shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass."

 

So true.  It's very wrenching when they pass on.  They become just like family.  And it seems like another dog could never replace the one you lost.

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21 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

So true.  It's very wrenching when they pass on.  They become just like family.  And it seems like another dog could never replace the one you lost.

but the next one comes along and wiggles his way into your heart and does indeed replace your old friend.

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21 hours ago, maineman said:

but the next one comes along and wiggles his way into your heart and does indeed replace your old friend.

 

No, doesn't replace. They just make another new hole in your heart when life becomes untenable for them. The holes add up, until it's our own turn to make holes in others.

 

We have an old guy now, Toby. He's over 14, and no longer able to hold his pee for very long. And because of a physical problem he needs to drink a lot. The result is that my wife is cleaning up pee every few days. His heart is very strong, the vet says. But his bladder is weak.

 

He's been a very loyal dog for a very long time, 12 years. He would die, literally, to protect my wife from harm.

If someone he doesn't know who comes too close to her, he lets out a bark that could would strike fear into anyone.

He was 90 pounds of pure power. Now he's 90 pounds of fur hiding behind my wife's easy chair.

 

And yet, he always also protected little ones. When one of our old cats was alive, but very old, and would take short walks around the pool, Toby would walk around too and position himself between the cat and the pool to make sure the cat didn't fall in. At the dog park, when he was younger, he'd put himself in front of any dog that was harassing a small dog, and get that big serious proud dog look. The people at the dog park would call him Captain Toby. No little ones were hurt under his watch.

 

He still loves to eat, loves ice cubes, and loves to take walks that are getting short because his hind legs are weak.

Our one-eyed cat Petey cuddles with him a lot, two old friends who'll soon be missed.

We don't know whether he'll make it to the new year.

 

5504056934_cd58fb3dff_z.jpg

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1 minute ago, laripu said:

 

No, doesn't replace. They just make another new hole in your heart when life becomes untenable for them. The holes add up, until it's our own turn to make holes in others.

 

We have an old guy now, Toby. He's over 15, and no longer able to hold his pee for very long. And because of a physical problem he needs to drink a lot. The result is that my wife is cleaning up pee every few days. His heart is very strong, the vet says. But his bladder is weak.

 

He's been a very loyal dog for a very long time, 12 years.  He would die, literally, to protect my wife from harm.

If someone he doesn't know who comes too close to her, he lets out a bark that could would strike fear into anyone.

He was 90 pounds of pure power. Now he's 90 pounds of fur hiding behind my wife's easy chair.

 

And yet, he always also protected little ones. When one of our old cats was alive, but very old, and would take short walks around the pool, Toby would walk around too and position himself between the cat and the pool to make sure the cat didn't fall in. At the dog park, when he was younger, he'd put himself in front of any dog that was harassing a small dog, and get that big serious proud dog look. The people at the dog park would call him Captain Toby. No little ones were hurt under his watch.

 

He still loves to eat, loves ice cubes, and loves to take walks that are getting short because his hind legs are weak.

Our one-eyed cat Petey cuddles with him a lot, two old friends who'll soon be missed.

We don't know whether he'll make it to the new year.

 

5504056934_cd58fb3dff_z.jpg

what a great looking guy!  I honestly cannot imagine life without dogs.  We went to Mexico in 2011 with two old dogs we'd had for years in Maine.... it was the last great adventure for both of the dogs.  They both eventually died in Mexico and we eventually replaced them with two Mexican street dogs.  When we returned to Maine last year, we brought them both with us (of course) and they are loving roaming around the one acre lot we built our home on.... all summer they would just move from sunny patch to sunny patch... loving and lazy, they would rather be near to us than do anything else.  Give Toby a hug for me.... he sounds like a super-special fellow.  

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My favorite:

 

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.

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5 hours ago, maineman said:

Give Toby a hug for me.... he sounds like a super-special fellow.  

 

Yup.  Give Toby a hug for me too.  What a noble, protective spirit.  It's hard to bear as pets deteriorate into old age. 

 

We have three cats which replaced the three that died of old age.  They are all street rescues and two are still young.  But the cutest, IMO, and the one who's in love with me, Peanut, is probably middle aged.  She's an exotic, which is like an extreme persian.   My wife does volunteer work at an animal rescue center, so we get to pick and choose !

 

And we have Iggy, a mix of chihuahua, pomeranian and pug.  Also a street rescue.  I prefer mixed breeds over purebreds.  Iggy is still a youthful 13 years old now.  He's beloved by the cats who always rub themselves against him.   Iggy's about 14 pounds with a thick, flat, tan and white coat and is larger and more sturdy than either pomeranian or chihuahua.  He's got a lot of muscle for a little guy.  When he runs near the red cliffs and hills here, he blends in so well, you could be looking straight at him and not see him unless he moves.  He's learned many tricks, all by himself, including walking on his back legs and what we call "walking on his head", where he doubles over, such that the top of his head is on the floor and propels himself with his back legs.  He does this after a bath or when he's excited. 

 

Iggy was the Western US  Flyball champ, in his weight class, in 2012.

 

I shall refrain from going on and on.

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11 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

The House Dog's Grave ( Haig, an English bulldog )

 

Wow !  Just awesome.

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25 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

Wow !  Just awesome.

 

IMO Robinson Jeffers was one of the most gifted poets that ever lived. His (long) epic poems rank among the greatest literature ever written in my estimation. They are often dark and embroiled with themes that include incest, rape, and murder. Often set in the rugged central California coast around Big Sur and Carmel (where he lived in a stone house he built overlooking the sea) his epics carry the weigh of Greek tragedies. His writing takes my breath away.

 

Prior to WWII he was widely famous and studied in universities as one of the greats.

 

But Jeffers took a very cranky political turn against American involvement in WWII and against FDR. His political stances resulted in his name being almost obliterated today. If he is remembered at all it is for some of his nature poems that are paired with Edward Weston photographs and sold to tourists in Big Sur.

 

But if one can--as with Ezra Pound--get past the misanthropic nature of the artist there is a wealth of discovery to be made in Robinson Jeffers works. Truly a great artist. 

 

Bill 

 

 

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Here is a photo of Jeffers home in Camel. It is called "Tor House" with Hawk Tower on the left.

 

Haig was buried in a flower bed just outside the door to Tor house.

 

tor-house-1_04d7aedf-5056-a36a-0a6531c41

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14 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

 

IMO Robinson Jeffers was one of the most gifted poets that ever lived. His (long) epic poems rank among the greatest literature ever written in my estimation. They are often dark and embroiled with themes that include incest, rape, and murder. Often set in the rugged central California coast around Big Sur and Carmel (where he lived in a stone house he built overlooking the sea) his epics carry the weigh of Greek tragedies. His writing takes my breath away.

 

Prior to WWII he was widely famous and studied in universities as one of the greats.

 

But Jeffers took a very cranky political turn against American involvement in WWII and against FDR. His political stances resulted in his name being almost obliterated today. If he is remembered at all it is for some of his nature poems that are paired with Edward Weston photographs and sold to tourists in Big Sur.

 

But if one can--as with Ezra Pound--get past the misanthropic nature of the artist there is a wealth of discovery to be made in Robinson Jeffers works. Truly a great artist. 

 

Bill 

 

 

thanks Bill!  I will research him, for sure!

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25 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

IMO Robinson Jeffers was one of the most gifted poets that ever lived.

 

I hadn't heard of him up 'till now.  But I just looked at some of his work, and I see what you mean.  I'm going to post "Vulture" in the poetry thread.

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22 minutes ago, maineman said:

thanks Bill!  I will research him, for sure!

 

A cold Maine night, a fire, a liberal pour of good spirits, and an epic poem by Jeffers would be something I expect you'd find transformative. If you are the man I think you are, I'm quite confident that reading Jeffers will stir your soul. 

 

The only writer I can think of in American literature who compares in greatness is Herman Melville. And the two have different gifts.

 

I think he would reach you. Perhaps to the point of addiction.

 

It amazes me that his name and works have largely been erased from public consciousness. But in his old age his cantankerous views of humankind were most unpopular in an America rallied for war, and he vanished.

 

I read him and think: "How could this happen?"

 

Those who discover him feel like connoisseurs of a lost genius.

 

I could not offer a higher recommendation for a night when you are in the mood to receive a dose of literary genius.

 

And Bludog, that goes for you as well. His politics were not our politics--to call him a reactionary is too simple--but my god what a mind!

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you all for your kind posts, and in particular for the excellent poem.

 

Toby has been hugged. He was bemused by the extra attention and had a little dog smile. 

 

In the meantime, the lack of testosterone that occurs for people my age has made me a bit emotional, and my eyes have been welling up. I'll be better in 60 or 70 years. 😉

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On 10/12/2018 at 1:17 PM, maineman said:

"A Dog on His Master."

 

"As young as I look, I am growing older faster than he.

Seven to one is the ratio, they tend to say.

Whatever the number, I will pass him one day and take the lead,

the way I do on our walks in the woods,

and if this ever manages to cross his mind,

it would be the sweetest shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass."

 

Billy Collins (former US Poet Laureate)

 

I should have gotten on the sub

 

I was guaranteed rank

 

I could have built a lot of Guns for Saudis MM.. I am so glad I didn't

 

 

 

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On 11/14/2018 at 5:43 PM, SpyCar said:

 

A cold Maine night, a fire, a liberal pour of good spirits, and an epic poem by Jeffers would be something I expect you'd find transformative. If you are the man I think you are, I'm quite confident that reading Jeffers will stir your soul. 

 

The only writer I can think of in American literature who compares in greatness is Herman Melville. And the two have different gifts.

 

I think he would reach you. Perhaps to the point of addiction.

 

It amazes me that his name and works have largely been erased from public consciousness. But in his old age his cantankerous views of humankind were most unpopular in an America rallied for war, and he vanished.

 

I read him and think: "How could this happen?"

 

Those who discover him feel like connoisseurs of a lost genius.

 

I could not offer a higher recommendation for a night when you are in the mood to receive a dose of literary genius.

 

And Bludog, that goes for you as well. His politics were not our politics--to call him a reactionary is too simple--but my god what a mind!

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just downloaded an anthology of his entitled, "Wild God of the World" onto my Kindle...  I will tackle it soon.  I am presently immersed in the project of re-reading Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales" collection... and with his heavy use of period vernacular, it's been a tough slog. ;) 

 

We are sitting in our great room with the gas fireplace glowing in front of us surrounded by forest watching the season's first significant snow fall and the first ever for us in our new home.  I am not a winter activities kind of person. I don't ski or snowshoe or snowmobile.  All I do is really walk out in it with my dogs, and admire it from interior vantages.  My daughter just sent me a note on facebook that read,  "If you don't find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life.... but still the same amount of snow".

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28 minutes ago, maineman said:

Just downloaded an anthology of his entitled, "Wild God of the World" onto my Kindle...  I will tackle it soon.  I am presently immersed in the project of re-reading Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales" collection... and with his heavy use of period vernacular, it's been a tough slog. ;) 

 

We are sitting in our great room with the gas fireplace glowing in front of us surrounded by forest watching the season's first significant snow fall and the first ever for us in our new home.  I am not a winter activities kind of person. I don't ski or snowshoe or snowmobile.  All I do is really walk out in it with my dogs, and admire it from interior vantages.  My daughter just sent me a note on facebook that read,  "If you don't find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life.... but still the same amount of snow".

 

I did not know this anthology. I see it has Cawdor as a featured epic poem. Is it the only epic? 

 

Jeffers short works are excellent, but the long narrative dramatic (epic) poems are his great masterpieces IMO. 

 

I have the three volumes of his Complete Works published by Stanford (Tim Hunt). It is an investment but if Cawdor grabs you, the Complete Works could get you through many long winters.

 

Let me know what you think once you've delved in.

 

My gut says you are going to love him and will be astounded that virtually no one knows his works. 

 

Bill

 

 

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On 11/14/2018 at 12:47 PM, laripu said:

 

No, doesn't replace. They just make another new hole in your heart when life becomes untenable for them. The holes add up, until it's our own turn to make holes in others.

 

We have an old guy now, Toby. He's over 14, and no longer able to hold his pee for very long. And because of a physical problem he needs to drink a lot. The result is that my wife is cleaning up pee every few days. His heart is very strong, the vet says. But his bladder is weak.

 

He's been a very loyal dog for a very long time, 12 years. He would die, literally, to protect my wife from harm.

If someone he doesn't know who comes too close to her, he lets out a bark that could would strike fear into anyone.

He was 90 pounds of pure power. Now he's 90 pounds of fur hiding behind my wife's easy chair.

 

And yet, he always also protected little ones. When one of our old cats was alive, but very old, and would take short walks around the pool, Toby would walk around too and position himself between the cat and the pool to make sure the cat didn't fall in. At the dog park, when he was younger, he'd put himself in front of any dog that was harassing a small dog, and get that big serious proud dog look. The people at the dog park would call him Captain Toby. No little ones were hurt under his watch.

 

He still loves to eat, loves ice cubes, and loves to take walks that are getting short because his hind legs are weak.

Our one-eyed cat Petey cuddles with him a lot, two old friends who'll soon be missed.

We don't know whether he'll make it to the new year.

 

5504056934_cd58fb3dff_z.jpg

What a good boy he is!   They are family, and there's always love for one more.  I swear they understand us more than we know.   The love for a pet runs deep in me, and it's devastating to lose one.  I don't want to end on a sad note, though, as there will be another when the time is right.  

I'm not very articulate, but you know what I mean.

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