Dora Sigerson Shorter

(1866-1918 / Ireland)

A Little Dog


A little dog disturbed my trust in Heaven.
I praised most faithfully
All the great things that be,
Man's pain and pleasure even;
I said though hard this weighing
Of pains and tears and praying,
He will reward most just.

I said your bitter weeping, man or maid,
Your tears or laughter,
Shall gain a just Hereafter;
Meet you the will of God then unafraid,
Gird you to your trials, for God's abode
Is open for all sorrow;
Live for the great to-morrow.
There passed me on the road

A little dog with hungry eyes, and sad
Thin flesh all shivering,
All sore and quivering,
Whining beneath the fell disease he had.
I hurried home and praised God as before
For thus affording
To man rewarding,
The dog was whining outside my door.

I flung it wide, and said, Come enter in,
Outcast of God.
Beneath His rod
You suffer sore, poor beast, that had no sin.
Not at my door then must you cry complaining
Your lot unjust,
But His who thrust
You from His door, your body maiming.

Not mine the pleasure that you bear this pain,
Hurled into being
Without hope of freeing
By grief and patience a soul for any gain.
Thus I reproached God while I tended
The sores to healing.
A voice stealing
And whispering out of the beast I friended,

Said, 'God had quickened my flesh, bestowing
Joys without measure,
Made for its pleasure,
An Eden's garden for ever glowing.
Gave me to Man, his care and protection
To gain and to give,
And bid us so live
In united bonds of help and affection.

'Man wrecked our garden, so we were hurled
Out from the skies
Of Paradise
Into the sorrows of a weeping world.
He forgets my care; I, as God has said,
Give still affection
For that connection
Which into all our bodies life has breathed.

'And why are you abusing God, and praising
With mock effacement
And false abasement
Your own heart's kindness, deeming it amazing
That you should do this duty for my sake,


Which is His bidding,
Nor blame for ridding
Himself of me, your neighbour, he who spake hard words,
Hard words and drove me forth all sore and ill?'
Thus while I tended
This dog I friended
Gave back my faith in Heaven by God's will.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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