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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, 10 February: Sympathy

Sympathy by Briton Riviere (1840-1920)

We made them
in the image of our fears
to cry at doors
at partings - even brief
to beg for food at table
and to look at us with those big
aching eyes
and to stay with us
when our children flee.
And sleep upon our beds
on darkest nights
and cringe at thunder
as in our own childhood frights.
We made them sad-eyed
loving, loyal, scared
of life without us.
We nurtured their dependency and grief.
We keep them as reminders of our fear.
We love them as the unacknowledged hosts
of our own terror
of the grave - abandoment.
Hold my paw
for I am dying.
Sleep upon my coffin.
Wait for me,
in the middle of the drive
that curves beyond the cemetry wall.
I hear your bark
I hear your mournful bark
Oh, may all the dogs
that I have ever loved,
carry my coffin
howl at the moonless sky
and lie down with me sleeping
when I die.

Best friends by Erica de Jong

(Trist and Gal, where would I be without your unconditional companionship?)


Sweetie said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes as I thought of our wonderful companion, Prince. Prince was my husband's dog. He is a 100 pound Shiloh shepherd. My husband took him for a long ride in his truck every day. I used to look at Johnny and say, "I don's know what you'll do if anything happens to him." The cemetery is just a few blocks from our house. Since Johnny's passing, Prince has run off to the cemetery three times. We have a plaque in our kitchen that I had bought for Johnny, "Simple Pleasures - The high point of my day is that moment when I get home to be with my dog."

Smilingsal said...

We had a little dachshund we miss. He was the perfect dog and he lived with us for 15½ years. My husband and I held each other and sobbed when he died.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I miss our two more than I can ever begin to express. We lost both of them last year. They were senior citizens, but that just made the blow all the more keenly felt because they had been with us so long. I do believe that they will be waiting for us in Heaven. I find comfort in that thought.

This was beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Eleanor. They really do leave pawprints on our hearts...


Sheila :-)

Claire said...

I will be getting my own in a few months time. I cannot wait.

Just a question... the author's life 1940 -1920? Is that a mistake or on purpose?

willow said...

I do miss my sweet doggies! Wonderful poem and artwork.

I watched "A Man and a Woman" last night and you were right. Tres cool!!!

Barbara Martin said...

Beautiful poem that brought wonderful memories of my past dogs. I have my birds, lovebirds and senegals, that make the day pass with their song, screeches and Richard (male senegal) who wolf whistles and says "Hello" when he wants something.

Poetikat said...

See, now as much as I love my cats, you bring up a good point - they're never going to lie on my coffin. I must get myself a dog before that happens.
I loved this!


Anonymous said...

What a delightful blog!

Chrissie said...

You are so right Eleanor, Where would we be without them!! My Ben says hi to your beautiful boys :)

TheWritersPorch said...

Oh if all of us loved as uncondionally as our pets what a wonderful world this would be !!
Beautiful post!

claudie said...

Eleanor I would be honored if you "stole" my idea for my table and chairs. Your blog is so beautiful. I learn something every time I visit.
Your granddaughters are precious & I'm sure they lay in their beds at night with their lovely quilts and think of you.
Love you sympathy post
Love Claudie

Pam said...

Eleanor this is very poignant in view of the dog/human/faithful companion bond, that is bringing much grief with our Australian bushfires...people searching for or leaving dearly-loved dogs behind in a desperate panic to get out, or people perishing to go back for them.As well as a joy, it is often an incredible and heart-breaking bond.The poem describes it so well.

MARIA said...

Hi Eleanor!
Thank you so much for this beautiful poem.
I had a few dogs in my life.
My dad loved all animals, especially horses and dogs.
When he died, his dog died too very soon.

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...