Pablo Neruda

(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973 / Parral)

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

  • Augustus Mutebesi Billy Augustus Mutebesi Billy (8/10/2016 1:32:00 AM)

    An Ironic sardistic finish for such an emotion filled poem! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Oluwatobi Moses Oluwatobi Moses (7/29/2016 4:49:00 PM)

    love this elegy For a dead dog.but he forgot to tell us his name.jaggy or bingo? (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (4/6/2016 3:31:00 PM)

    Ha! He ends this poem saying: - - - - - - - - -]
    So now he's gone and I buried him,
    and that's all there is to it.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - I never knew he was a bald-faced liar before! Because listen to what he wrote earlier- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -]
    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.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Yeah, right, Mr Neruda, you can't fool us! Those dogs and horses and cats and whatnot curl up in your heart no matter what we want people to believe. (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/6/2016 10:47:00 AM)

    One of best poem of Pablo Neruda that gave an enjoyment to readers in its style and content. Likes. (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton Barry Middleton (4/6/2016 10:28:00 AM)

    I always loved this poem sorta like Neruda loved his dog and vice versa. (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak Bharati Nayak (4/6/2016 8:51:00 AM)

    A great poem of Pablo Neruda where he shows his love for faithfulness and joyful free spirit in a friendship. .The dog represents that faithfulness and free spirit to love, giving all attention from a distance without expecting anything in return.This friendship never dies and the poet wants to be alongside of such a friendship.

    To quote from the poem- -
    My dog has died.- - - - - - - - -
    .Some day I will join there
    .My dog used to gaze at me
    , paying 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 purer than mine
    he would 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. (Report) Reply

  • David Lumpkin David Lumpkin (4/6/2016 8:40:00 AM)

    A greater honesty than most of us want to admit. (Report) Reply

  • Francis Lynch Francis Lynch (4/6/2016 7:43:00 AM)

    Neruda distances himself from humanity in this one. Obviously prefers the company of dead pets. He does, however, fall into the old human error of projecting human emotions onto an animal. It's a fucking dog... (Report) Reply

    Barry Middleton Barry Middleton (4/6/2016 10:29:00 AM)

    Dogs are better than most people.

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (4/6/2016 7:11:00 AM)

    A great poem conceived and envisioned by a great poet and presenting a balancing comparison. Hats off. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (4/6/2016 1:05:00 AM)

    Some day i'll join him! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Abderrahmane Dakir Abderrahmane Dakir (2/28/2016 8:24:00 AM)

    Nice poem about the best memories about the dog alive and after his death. excellent description. (Report) Reply

  • T Rajan Evol (2/18/2016 9:16:00 AM)

    Interesting poem............... (Report) Reply

  • 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

  • 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

Read all 73 comments »




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?

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


[Report Error]