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Poets Corners

Some poetry written in tribute to dogs

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Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Poets Corner
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Poetry Corner








2 - The best place to bury a Dog

"There is one best place to bury a dog.
"If you bury him in this spot, he will
come to you when you call - come to you
over the grim, dim frontier of death,
and down the well-remembered path,
and to your side again.

"And though you call a dozen living
dogs to heel, they shall not growl at
him, nor resent his coming,
for he belongs there.

"People may scoff at you, who see
no lightest blade of grass bent by his
footfall, who hear no whimper, people
who may never really have had a dog.
Smile at them, for you shall know
something that is hidden from them,
and which is well worth the knowing.
"The one best place to bury a good
dog is in the heart of his master."

Ben Hur Lampman

from the Portland Oregonian Sept. 11, 1925 [AKA "If A Dog Be Well Remembered"]

3 - A tribute to Sam

Epitaphs of sheepdogs mourn the loss of courage, beauty, brains,
And loyalty without match. They bring the toughest heart to tears.
This one's different, even now the means exist for me to clone
My irreplaceable Sam.

Among the beads and trinkets in my jewel box,
Carefully wrapped, lies a lock of black and white fur,
The brightest gem, source of DNA, from the dog
That changed my life.

So weep no more, be happy, laugh, rejoice, for I shall get my dog back.
The pastures that we gathered on all those heat-crazed shearing days
Will feel again those willing paws
Climb the unyielding hill.

Lay aside the scrapbook, gaudy pages of bright memory
An entry form, a running order, trial results, the photos -
"Sam in snow", "Sam with lambs", "Sam in the river after work".
He'll be here again.

Take down the tent from its attic pitch, we'll trial once more
In the sun swept hills of Wales.
From Bala to Llanafan from Moelyniadd to the sea.
Together we'll go home.

I'll never have to say goodbye, to touch for one last time
The beloved fur. But wait, it cannot be. He will not be the same.
For who can clone those golden, glory days that made him
And that Sam gave to me?

Sue Rowan

4 - Because of Border Collies

Because of border collies
I have had friends in the darkest hours
companions who became outdoor shadows
and learned the meaning of unconditional love

  Because of border collies
I have been taught how to approach the day
how to see places and objects with refreshingly new eyes
and to appreciate the possibilities of the mundane

  Because of border collies
I have been denied access to pubs
had to apologise to picnickers for missing sandwiches
and to Sunday walkers for water-sprayed clothes

  Because of border collies
I have possessed hard-working vacuum cleaners
had black hair hiding in carpets and clothes
and mini-collie clumps under sofas and beds

  Because of border collies
I have had the pain of ending life
watch ageing take over willing but incapable bodies
and cried so long and so hard in emptiness

  Because of border collies
I have had a life that is full and beautiful
that has made me a person who knows how to love
and to be loved in an uncomplicated world

  Ronnie Goodyer, Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd

5 - The Collies Dilemma

The Collie is a loyal Breed
His greatest mission is to serve.
He seeks to understand our need,
to give us what we must deserve.
So when we ask the worst of him
to go against his natural need.
He tries to satisfy our whim.
Our vanity he seeks to feed.

  In all mankind's most selfish dreams
when seeking slaves to honour us.
For some the Collie is the means,
but are the reasons good enough?
Why should we wish this noble breed
to change it's ways and give to man,
a means to satisfy our needs
in all the ways we think he can?

  Why is it not enough to gaze
upon the Collie in the field,
to let his trade and skills amaze
and to temptation never yield?
We make demands, we ask of him
to sacrifice his purpose true,
to let us get the best of him.
He'll always try, but think - would you?

  Mike Cooke
Border Collie Rescue

6 - Burnham Beeches

We walked at Burnham through the passing years,
Beneath the gothic arches of the trees,
And knew each knotted root, each jagged stump,
The bones of ancient beeches, green with moss,
Concealing crawly things in crevices.
Ant's nest and broken branch were waymarks on
The quiet familiar paths, where once we found
Familiarity can breed content.
Where now I walk, with you beside me still,
But in the mind's eye only; in a dream
Where you are always playing hide and seek,
Or lurking in an ambush up ahead
To pounce on me, your unsuspecting prey.
And now, because I cannot let you go,
These woods will be your happy haunting ground,
A hoodlum spirit, harum-scarum ghost,
Scattering the indignant squirrels, snorkeling
In moldy leaves, and smelly ponds or worse -
"Banned Substances", celestially foul.

My friend, before they sing you to your rest,
Those flights of angels would be well advised
To get some paper spread around the place
When muddy feet ascend the Heavenly Stairs,
And you come woofing at the Pearly Gates.
But if there is a notice on the door
Then who would want to live there anyway,
In all that spotless sanctimonious bliss?
You're always welcome in the Other Place
To sit with Cerberus beside the fire.
And I might join you there before too long
And say goodbye to all this emptiness.

continued -

7 - Burnham Beeches

- continued

The emptiness behind me in the car,
And all around me when I come back home.
The bed, the hearth, the heart are empty now
The memories remain, the photographs,
Your portrait looking at me from the wall
The red rosette for "Dog with waggiest tail",
Your treasure chest, with all your precious hoard;
Red Ball, Green Socks, and ugly Yellow Rat
Who lay abandoned in a litter bin
Unloved, until you came to rescue him.
Assorted bones, your tatty woolly hat;
Best trophy of them all, the greasy glove
You stole from ATS at Beaconsfield.
These rare and much sought after artifacts
From the collection of a Gentleman.
And what am I supposed to do with them,
"These foolish things" reminding me of you?

For life goes on, and somewhere, even now
A small, black, hairy blob, stuffed full of Sin
Is waiting to be born, to wag his tail,
Insinuate his nose into my heart,
And pester me to come to life again.
And when he comes to Burnham, will he feel
A kindly presence watching in the trees,
To wish him well, then melt into the mist
As veils of sunlight sift through autumn leaves?

Richard Verschoyle

8 - Monument to a Dog

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.

But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master's own,
Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Un-honored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!

By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on, it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend's remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one, and here he lies.

Lord Byron

Inscription on the monument of his
Newfoundland dog, 1808

9 - The Collies Lament

 I am a well- bred collie dug, Born tae herd yon’ hill;
Tae rin tae heid jeukin’ yowes,
Yet ne’er do them ill.

Alas, the worst tae me’s occurred,
Ah’ve been sell’t intae a toun,
And ‘cos I chase baith weans and cars,
They’re gaun tae pit me doon.

If I could talk I’d tell them,
I wasna’ born tae be a pet -
But they dinna appear tae care nor ken,
Jist drag me tae the vet.

I don’t know what he did tae me,
‘Cept t’was a mortal sin,
That made me proud tae be canine,
Not human likes o’ him.

How I wished that he’d explain,
An’ mak’ them understaun’,
That a collie dug born an’ bred,
Belongs only on the land.

But alas, he only sighed;
And shook his woolly heid,
Carried out the heinous deed,
And then pronounced me deid!

I feel mysel’ ascendin’
Towards some pearly gates -
I’ve been telt a Shepherd dwells up there
Who waits for collies sic- like me.

continued -

10 - The Collies Lament

- continued

I tak’ ma place beside his knee,
Feel his kind hand on ma heid,
"Forget the past, put it behind,
Come bide with me instead.

There’s sheep to guide and sheep to shed,
The work here never ends.
"He led me tae a dry-stane dyke,
"These are the ones ye’ll tend."

I stood and eyed in mute surprise
across the heaven’s deep,
As what I deemed where wisps o’ cloud
developed intae sheep.

And no’ the sort ain wad expect -
For I couldna’ fail tae see-
the sheep the Guid Shepherd tended o’er
Were o’ the human variety.

On observin’ ma perplexed gaze he enquired,
"Do ye stand firm as the proverbial rock?
"I wagged ma tail - so wi’ a quiet wheep,
He sent me off in hot pursuit, tae educate His flock!

Viv Billingham Parkes