Jeffers was generally excoriated for the sentimentality of this poem, something his readers didn't expect from him, but should have.  I post this for my own dog who died yesterday, and for myself.

Robinson Jeffers: The House-Dog's Grave

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 nights 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 that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dears, that's too much hope:
You are not so well cared for as I have been.
And never have known 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.

Poetry by countryfog The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 9922 times
Written on 2012-01-17 at 17:20

dott Save as a bookmark (requires login)
dott Write a comment (requires login)
dott Send as email (requires login)
dott Print text

It has always bothered me that somewhere around the mid-20th century, sentimentality was proclaimed a dirty word. It always surprises me how blatantly and unashamedly sentimental and melodramatic some 1940s movies are--but they mean well and express a range of emotions. Glad to see this Jeffers poem displayed. I love all of his work, whether it expresses genuine emotion, like this one, or deals with 'the Big Issues.'

I love dogs and always had one as a child. Since they have relatively short lives, I was a little boy in constant mourning when one would pass away. But grieving shows that one has the ability to feel things deeply, which seems a good thing.

So sad, I know what it is like to miss a friend, not a pet an equal, just different, but loyal to each other.
I send you blessings

Nice prose,

Love and blessings

ken d williams The PoetBay support member heart!
Sad to read of your dog passing away , C F, the poem reminds me my dog protected and friend Sandy. Departed more than 50 years now. I like to think he's still around , that at times I feill cold wet nose prest against me. To let me know , hes not rely gone , still looking after and out for me.
Ken ( D Williams )