I had loved her with a passion that could not be surpassed
But she was a highborn lady and I was of lower caste.
She never even glanced at me! Each day I shed a tear
For my love kept growing stronger year after year after year.
At first we were both children; I was her servant then.
If she dropped a little toy I would pick it up again.
And, sometimes, her fingers would brush my own, and I would feel a thrill;
I only stopped from declaring my love by an effort of great will.
Then we both grew into adults. And, oh, this was so hard!
Sometimes she passed close to me when I was sweeping the yard.
Her beautiful gowns dragged on the ground; their tracks like those of snails!
I swept them, hardly daring to, those heavenly silver trails!
One night, in a dream, she came to me and 'What would you give?' she said,
'To be as close to my body as the hair upon my head?'
'Anything! Anything!' I cried out; 'No price is too much to pay!
Take my life! My soul! My heart! I give it all away!'
And here I am, a silver snake, like a knot above her heart.
I hear it beating constantly; I know we'll never part.
I lie here on her glorious tanned and perfect breast;
And I hear her say 'Of all my jewels, this is my very best.'
Head down but watchful,
You have sat at our gate for many a year,
Your immensity sprawled at the end of our garden.
Knowing your place;
You have protected us,
Our dignity, our sense of worth,
Our livelihood and our pride.
True, you have been no beauty,
Your fur rust-stained,
Your teeth tarnished,
Your claws blunted by time.
Your breath has clouded our skies;
It has hung, like a malodorous curtain,
Veiling our horizons.
Our lives have been your diet.
Into that great mouth at morning,
Spewed out at sundown.
Your hunger has been insatiable.
Even at night you have demanded, constantly, to be fed.
Your stomach has rumbled;
Your eyes have gleamed watchfully.
There has been no let-up.
You have been both servant and master.
Yet such a comforting presence you were.
We listened to your breathing in the dark
And were secure.
Your kennel is shabby now.
Your garden worn and patched.
Your old bones scattered
By your old bones.
Now comes the end.
The kindly needle,
The last yawn.
You will be replaced,
But you will be missed.
Goodbye Guard Dog, Old Friend.