Dogs

Epitaph to a Dog

Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed
beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without
ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices.

--Tribute to the Dog "Boatswain" 1808

(Note:  Boatswain was Lord Byron's dog.)

I Think I Know No Finer Things Than Dogs

Though prejudice perhaps my mind befogs,
I think I know no finer things than dogs:
The young ones, they of gay and bounding heart,
Who lure us in their games to take a part,
Who with mock trafedy their antics cloak
And, from their wild eyes' tail, admit the joke;
The old one, with their wistful, fading eyes,
They who desire no further paradise
Than the warm comfort of our smile and hand,
Who tune their moods to ours and understand
Each word and gesture; they who lie and wait
To welcome us--with no rebuke if late.
Sublime the love they bear; but ask to live
CLose to our feet, unrecompensed to give;
Beside which many men seem very logs--
I think I know no finer things than dogs.

-- Hally Carrington Brent

Giacometti's Dog

Lopes in bronze:
scruffy,
thin. In
the Museum of Modern Art
head
down, neck long as sadness
lowering to hanging ears
--he's eyeless--
that hear
nothing, and the sausage
muzzle
that leads him as
surely as eyes:
he might
be
dead, dried webs or clots of flesh
and fur
on the thin, long bones--but
isn't, obviously
is obviously
traveling intent on his
own aims: legs
lofting
with a gayety the dead aren't known
for, Going
onward in one place,
he doesn't so much ignore
as not recognize
the well-
dressed Sunday hundreds
who passing, pausing make
his bronze
road
move. Why
do they come to admire
him?
They wouldn't care for real dogs
less raggy
than he
is? It's his tragic
insouciance
bugs them? or is
it that art can make us
cherish
anthing--this command
of shaping and abutting space--
that make us love
even mutts,
even the world, accept
even
the starry wheels by which we're hurled
toward death, having
the rocks and
wind for comrades?
It's not this starved hound,
but Giacometti seeing
him we see.

We'll stand in line all day
to see one man
love anything enough.

-- Robert Wallace