Pablo Neruda

(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973 / Parral / Chile)

A Dog Has Died - Poem by Pablo Neruda

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

So now he's gone and I buried him,
and that's all there is to it.


Translated, from the Spanish, by Alfred Yankauer


Comments about A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda

  • Howard 'the motivational poet' Simon Howard 'the motivational poet' Simon (2/10/2016 1:50:00 PM)

    Making the mundane marvelous is one of the things Neruda did best. That virtue is alive in this excellent essay! (Report) Reply

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  • Enoch John Enoch John (1/27/2016 2:27:00 PM)

    well written.Well even poets have dogs.Pablo was no exception. (Report) Reply

  • Alem Hailu G/kristos Alem Hailu G/kristos (12/17/2015 8:00:00 AM)

    Except the atheism in it i believe it is an intresting poem (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/24/2015 3:08:00 AM)

    Neruda titles the poem “A Dog Has Died”, then in the first line, calls says “My dog has died.” The distance between the man and the dog seems at first almost indifferent, but then as the poem begins, the dog’s status shifts, their relationship deepens. The line after deepens it all the more: the garden is a familiar place, a comfortable place that one tends and cares for. Being buried in the garden, then, seems to go from ownership to favor. Then Neruda finishes this first stanza with the line: “next to a rusted old machine, ” drawing us back to the surface, back to being confused about the relationship between the man and his dog. [Paul Erland] (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (9/15/2015 12:11:00 PM)

    One of the best poem I have ever read on Dogs, , , , , , , , , , , , , Love it.. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Case Thomas Case (8/6/2015 6:30:00 PM)

    beautiful and sad...the dog is like a perfect human. (Report) Reply

  • Maria Gonzalez (7/26/2015 5:48:00 PM)

    I really enjoyed this write. High standard as expected from Neruda. (Report) Reply

  • Dedan Onyango Dedan Onyango (7/11/2015 4:27:00 AM)

    Neruda's dog is a special one. The qualities are beyond that of a normal dog. (Report) Reply

  • Madathil Rajendran Nair Madathil Rajendran Nair (3/29/2015 12:05:00 PM)

    Neruda's dog is special; it is perhaps the most undogly dog! One can't resist admiring this dog's aloofness and matter-of-fact, impersonal behaviour. The hidden satire in the poem is very amusing if we consider these lines:

    Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
    where my dog waits for my arrival
    waving his fan-like tail in friendship. (Report) Reply

  • Matthew Holloway Matthew Holloway (3/28/2015 12:28:00 PM)

    A dog always makes a home, they become part of the family fabric and their loyal devotion and love deserves poetry such as this masterpiece (Report) Reply

  • Walterrean Salley (9/18/2014 3:39:00 AM)

    He really loved his dog. I'm sorry for such loss and the state of sadness it brought. Enjoyed reading this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Walterrean Salley (9/18/2014 3:37:00 AM)

    He really loved his dog. I'm sorry for such loss and the state of saddness it brought. Enjoyed reading this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Surajit Banerjee (6/19/2014 6:36:00 AM)

    The unification of souls of poet and the pet is unique. (Report) Reply

  • Colleen Courtney (6/7/2014 4:17:00 AM)

    I love the beautiful poem of the one and only kind of specialness between pet and owner. Recalls to mimd my own Kitty girl who has passed. The closeness between us was an amazing thing to see! This poem speaks of this type of love perfectly! (Report) Reply

  • Brian Liu (4/28/2014 10:47:00 AM)

    Thinking of my dog. Miss him. (Report) Reply

  • Herbert Guitang Herbert Guitang (4/27/2014 12:03:00 PM)

    It fronts the dogs death and combine his personal thouhhts (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani Brian Jani (4/27/2014 2:20:00 AM)

    Awesome I like this poem, check mine out  (Report) Reply

  • Birgitta Abimbola Heikka Birgitta Abimbola Heikka (4/1/2014 7:53:00 PM)

    First time reading any piece by Pablo Neruda. Fell in love with the poem. Poem kept me entranced from beginning to end. No wonder he was so popular (still popular) . (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh Rai Ramesh Rai (3/30/2014 10:36:00 PM)

    Nicely penned with soulful expression. (Report) Reply

  • R Bremner (3/25/2014 7:43:00 PM)

    Weird. I have had many dogs and all of them were quite affectionate. Perhaps the dog picked up on Neruda's lack of love, and reciprocated. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: dog, believe, heaven, sea, lonely, ocean, winter, sky, star, together, happy, hair, lost, alone



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Monday, March 22, 2010


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