Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Power of the Dog

I was just sending a message to someone who has recently lost her dog and I thought of this poem - it's a poem I often think of, albeit usually just the first verse. I thought you might enjoy reading it again - as I am sure you all know it well. I cannot myself read it without tears!

The Power of the Dog

>> 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 to 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 hat answered your every mood
Is gone -- wherever it goes -- for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a 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?

Well, I must say I sometimes wonder at the foolishness of loving a soul whose lifespan is so short. I suppose it is only the reasonable price to pay for a love which is so freely given.

On a less somber note - happy 4th July to all my friends in the US !!!

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