Jonathan ROBIN (22 September / London)
A Dog's Life
Sixteen years, now almost seventeen,
I've played at stick and ball, stayed seldom still
until good master's call would whistle shrill
to lead me back - no need to smack. Sight keen.
Sixteen years tail's wagged as faithful friend,
as boon companion, running round fun years.
His mother passed away, I shared the tears
that fountained forth and never seemed to end.
Sixteen years round each revolving moon
from hearth and home I pick up slightest sound,
ears prick, eyes bright, in sight I'm always found
to hold my ground, though often play buffoon.
Sixteen years, come rain or shine, we walk
twice, sometimes thrice a day, I sense each smell
around the house, tell friends from rascals well,
and after dinner hear the table talk.
Sixteen years from pet to family,
from playful pat to priceless kith and kin,
I vet as threat who'd twins' affections win,
can smell a rat or chase cat up a tree.
Sixteen years I've watched the children grow,
suffered unruly hands that now caress,
I guard them still, still at the same address,
as I will willing till my turn to go.
Sixteen years saw summers shedding hair,
saw autumns' colours charm birds from the trees,
saw winter whiteness whose bare branches' frieze
prepared for springs unbounded, weather fair.
Sixteen years, milk - nap - home-made pap brew,
from toothless start, heart full, until depart,
toothless, heart filled beyond all man may chart,
life's cycle spins till ready to renew.
Sixteen years that gambolled life away,
with water, beef and bone, I've played at will.
Scents seem less sharp today, and soon I will
make my last bow - still in thrill dreams I play!
Revised 6 August 2007 Previous Title Sixteen Years
(5 January 1992)
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