Subscribe to Granta today

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 (24)

You need to create an account or log in to comment.

  1. 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!

  2. DebraSanto

    Fri Oct 11 10:05:34 BST 2013

    As a Novice, I 'm constantly browsing on-line for posts that may guide me. However do you know why i find it difficult to see all the images on your webpage? Regards, Debra @

  3. ColdyMilligan

    Fri Jan 31 19:01:00 GMT 2014

    There was a day when everyone loves their dogs. Everyone will know that a dog is one of the excellent animal to be maintained.

  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. TeddyMichael

    Wed Dec 25 10:29:01 GMT 2013

    Usually there are so many kinds of special treatment given to the dogs when the special day. Everyone it seems has many types of joy each type of dog.

  6. 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.

  7. irmacurran

    Thu Dec 26 12:35:44 GMT 2013

    The dog is often times get special treatment given the dogs are very loyal to their employers. There are so many treatment that can be given to dogs.

  8. SecondBull

    Fri Dec 27 11:32:55 GMT 2013

    Days where the dog can get specialized services may be just in these days. All the owners of the dog will be able to give the dog what they want.

  9. RoqueFreitag

    Tue Apr 22 02:14:46 BST 2014

    Whether this is a very special day for a dog? All people usually do not know this. They will care for the dog properly and diligently.

  10. rickey

    Wed Apr 23 08:06:41 BST 2014

    This was very compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed your fine work and look forward check out how to stop snoring at

  11. kimamerry

    Fri Jan 31 13:50:19 GMT 2014

    There are dogs that are able to give an idea to the author to make the good work. It is very dependent on the execution of the author.

  12. Allie

    Wed Jan 22 05:34:00 GMT 2014

    I’ve been browsing on the internet more than 3 time these days, yet I never discovered any excellent subject like yours. It is fairly value enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and blog writers created excellent material as you did, the world wide web will be much more useful than ever before.

  13. 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.

  14. HubertRickards

    Sun Mar 02 17:24:28 GMT 2014

    Infrastructure makes a lot of people will get an easy job. There are enough people who can contribute to the treatment of this object.


    Tue Apr 22 13:13:15 BST 2014

    And in the stunning governmental slyness of the whole factor (Evo Morales may or may not be amused) – in every term I saw a real incorrect Gogol, and I experienced joy. Candice Litt, Best of Younger English Authors, 2003.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Mellywooden

    Sat Feb 01 03:26:09 GMT 2014

    One of the animals is much preferred by many people is a dog. Dogs can make a lot of people become more friendly to human beings.

  19. mayaclimpson

    Sat Feb 01 07:23:23 GMT 2014

    There is a very special dog so that they can get a very special care of this. All dogs can be very happy with today.

  20. TeddyMichael

    Sun Feb 02 19:00:36 GMT 2014

    I don't read to many poems because it's hard for me to find out the meaning. But I will appreciate this one.