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Dog Days


Dog Days

Blizzard died. I’m remembering
his limitless affection;
how he constantly gave you the chance to open your heart,
to thaw some of the ice around it;
how I failed to respond; knowing I should, but unable,
as if some crucial defeat would thereby be registered,
though even as I complained about him tramping mud all over the house,
or filling the snow in the yard with piss stains and frozen turds
or getting his muzzle full of porcupine quills,
or jumping bang through the screen door, or licking the butter,
or costing a fortune in pills and shots;
how, behind my posture of annoyance, behind my frosty hostility,
I knew him to be a princely spirit, magnanimous;
knew it from how he greeted me after every rebuff
with his jumps and nuzzles;
every day saying ‘this is your chance to show love . . . ’
Why couldn’t I show it?
Why this sense that good as it might have been,
it would also have been a violation of the natural order
or my own personal order?
I see him,
trotting ahead in the woods,
the big white plume of his tail bobbing up and up
like an irrepressible fountain, then vanishing
as he thundered off after a squirrel.
When he slept, his flank would start quivering;
he’d draw back his ears and his muzzle, and moan with delight,
chasing the squirrel again in his dreams.
Once, while I lay on the couch, flattened by depression,
he came and placed his paw in my hand,
and made a pitiful, pitying baying sound.
I did feed and water him, even cleaned up his shit once in a while,
but always with a dutiful air, an aggrieved look of martyrdom
as though afraid our household would collapse
if someone in it didn’t preserve a certain stiffness,
a certain chilliness in regard to the purely creaturely.

By James Lasdun.

You can also see James Lasdun reading and in conversation with Tania James at a Granta Britain event in Boston, MA on 24 May.

Comments (42)

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  1. KevinPlug

    Sun Jun 01 21:12:21 BST 2014

    Today, it can be all dog owners to take the time to provide services to the dog. All types of dogs would be spoiled.

  2. Nicko66

    Fri Jul 26 15:24:02 BST 2013

    Love this poem. Make it required reading for everyone who has ever had a dog (or is thinking of getting rid of one) and not fully realised their creaturley wonder!


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  4. JackEdison

    Wed Dec 25 02:17:43 GMT 2013

    Days where the dog can do a lot of things are things that do not exist in many countries. But, after all, a dog is cherished pet dross many people.

  5. annabelleslessor

    Thu Dec 26 09:46:52 GMT 2013

    The dog should get good treatment in these days. This is done in order to make the dog better and according to the employer.


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  7. BonneiBernnet

    Mon Aug 04 20:05:14 BST 2014

    There are days when dogs get special treatment from many people. Everyone is very happy with the dog clean and cared for her employer.

  8. ScottieRichardson

    Fri Apr 25 20:03:08 BST 2014

    Caring for a dog would be one thing very enjoyable. However, it seems there is indeed a special day in which the dog must get extra care.


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  12. kurtcollins

    Fri Jul 25 02:56:21 BST 2014

    There are many types of dog that you can see today. Basically everyone is very happy with the various types of dogs were clean and neat.


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    Sat Feb 14 08:15:54 GMT 2015

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  15. JulioWell

    Mon Mar 03 09:17:05 GMT 2014

    That's showing how we should memorize any simple moment to be a special day. Just same like we appreciate any other persons.

  16. david6112

    Fri Apr 25 02:56:56 BST 2014

    This is avery good poem I think, I just begin writing and I wish I could write like that. Keep doing this amazing job!

  17. erickgoyder

    Wed Jan 29 20:18:02 GMT 2014

    This will make many people think of their dogs. They will treat the dog with a much better and more loving them unconditionally.

  18. annabelleslessor

    Fri Jan 31 06:41:13 GMT 2014

    The dog is often times become a source of inspiration for many writers. There are many themes that can be made about the dog story.

  19. MarkWell

    Thu Jul 31 17:46:33 BST 2014

    Dog has become one of the most human friend owned. Today could be the day the dog where the dog is treated special.

  20. JerrellHartmann

    Sat Oct 25 10:31:37 BST 2014

    Dogs are the best pal in the world. I love them because they are cute.

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    Thu Jun 26 09:09:59 BST 2014

    Looks like this will be the day that awaited by the dog in the whole world. There are many conveniences and facilities that will be given to them.


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  25. Chuck

    Sun Feb 08 16:26:35 GMT 2015

    Absolutely loved the poem James. I am an avid dog lover and this poem moved me because my dog died about 6 months ago and I miss him greatly. Thanks again for the great work!

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    Sun Feb 22 22:09:31 GMT 2015

    I dunno this post about,
    poem or song?

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    There are many types of dog that you could see today. Basically everybody is very pleased with the different kinds of pet dogs were clean and tidy.

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    Wed Oct 01 11:54:17 BST 2014

    Dog happens to be probably the most human good friend owned. Today will be the day your dog where your dog is treated special.

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    Sat Dec 20 13:37:46 GMT 2014

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