Dog Poem of the Week

Following the loss of Byron in 2007, I began a morning ritual to connect with his spirit. Standing on my back porch, I could see the Dog Star Sirius in the early morning sky. I would take a few moments in the quiet of the dawn to look up at the star and remember him. I had a strong feeling he was watching over me, and this simple ritual was comforting.

Byron, age 14

Byron, age 14

As if he was answering me back, I began to notice star motifs appearing everywhere. Digging around in a cupboard in the garage, I pulled out an extra dog dish to take to the cabin. It was a handmade pottery dish, with a star motif. I had completely forgotten I had this dish. The circle seemed complete when little Alex was born with a small white mark on his back like a shooting star. I still look up at the stars, and think of all my beloved dogs. Browsing through my dog poetry collection, I came across this poem. It’s by Burges Johnson, who was a professor at Union College in New York, and it’s part of a longer poem written in the dog’s voice, “The Rubaiyat of Omar Ki-Yi,” pubished in 1938.

If there’s a dog-star up there in the sky,

Perhaps the souls of rabbits hurry by

To lurk behind the clouds; and yet I fear

It won’t be paradise where cats can fly.

But when my earthly license shall expire,

And Satan flings his net with purpose dire,

I’ll bare my teeth and gowl and nip his tail,

And slip ‘twixt Peter’s legs, and join the choir.

If then on padded feet you run alone

Along this fav’rite trail we two have known

And on your joyous errand pass this spot,

Grant me one bark, and bury me one bone.

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