Pablo Neruda

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

A Dog Has Died


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

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Monday, March 22, 2010

Do you like this poem?
182 person liked.
16 person did not like.

Form:


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

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda )

  • Veteran Poet - 3,181 Points 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

  • Veteran Poet - 3,181 Points 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

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

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

  • Rookie - 37 Points 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

  • Rookie - 0 Points Brian Liu (4/28/2014 10:47:00 AM)

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

  • Freshman - 1,414 Points Herbert Guitang (4/27/2014 12:03:00 PM)

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

  • Rookie - 58 Points Brian Jani (4/27/2014 2:20:00 AM)

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

  • Rookie - 679 Points 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

  • Gold Star - 11,771 Points Ramesh Rai (3/30/2014 10:36:00 PM)

    Nicely penned with soulful expression. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie 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

  • Rookie Ally Davies (1/8/2014 8:11:00 AM)

    The greatest poet of the 20th century, in any language. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 469 Points Alexander Opicho (12/2/2013 4:13:00 AM)

    this is Marxism of Marxism; it is a sharp way of explaining class conflict, i eguate it to the satire of V S Naipual; the house for mr biswas (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Poems 7137 (11/7/2013 7:56:00 AM)

    impeccably explained! ! I'm an admirer for this one..
    Unconditional and detached love of a dog..with no exaggerated dressing on display or any boundaries watsoever; the animal's love is a true one..! Hence, no regrets even after death...Beautiful.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sarah Jones (9/24/2013 10:19:00 PM)

    Unforgetable poem. Work of a true master. Neruda makes poetry so easy! Moving and poignant poem. The more you read Neruda, the more you fall in love with him. Great! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Denis Neumann (1/1/2013 6:45:00 PM)

    If you like poems about dogs, read Unleashed, a book of poems written by writer's dogs. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Aryaman Datta Chobey (11/22/2012 5:49:00 AM)

    a lovely poem right expresions makes the reader understand properly every thing but thneres lack of rhyme (Report) Reply

  • Rookie irene Mbula (9/22/2012 5:57:00 AM)

    Mhhh....nice, makes me nostalgic, .... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Bobby Bob (7/13/2012 3:20:00 PM)

    beautiful poem... a bit cold at the end though. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 182 Points Karen Sinclair (7/8/2012 9:22:00 AM)

    Having lost my beloved tyson...staff cross, the nobelest of dogs jan 26th this year, i had trouble getting past the first few stanzas...but beautiful... today im just going to fill my head with his words....lovely......lucky lucky me (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Albert Rodriguez (10/9/2010 1:05:00 PM)

    Neruda has the brilliant art of making you feel where nothing has ever been felt. He defines what a poet is. (Report) Reply

Read all 50 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  4. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  7. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  9. If, Rudyard Kipling
  10. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
[Hata Bildir]