In which we celebrate poetry month with some poems about dogs

for Jerry & Kathy

It’s no good standing on the porch
& yelling. He’s deaf
as a man with long years
in the engine room of a ship listening
for the sounds metal makes
before it fails, a faint break
in rhythm, something out of tune.
He is lying in the middle
of the road, staring east
across a field of pumpkins
ruined by the cold.
He can’t hear ducks or geese
resting in the marsh talking one another
through the night in comfort
or complaint. Or coyotes
barking across the Valley.
Traffic is far away, only a whisper,
like blood through a vein.
Some dark scent, perhaps, tugs
his head back & forth
in an old, old way.
If he hears anything, it is likely the light
beating in his chest, already diminishing,
though neither of us knows it.
He is sprawled in a black bed
of glittering frost,
so that I wonder if he’s had to lie down
to keep from falling into the sea
of stars above him. When he turns
his head at my touch
his eyes fill with a small joy,
as though love is so easily given
even I might as well have a little,
as though, when he rises
& trots toward the house
& his bed,
I needn’t follow after.

"Calling the Old Dog In" by Samuel Green
Sam Green is Washington State's very first poet laureate.

Old Dog
Old dog sits and waits
Not allowed inside
Weary and lost
Looking for his master
Not knowing he has gone
To that undiscovered country
But waiting and willing
To follow when he's called.

"Old Dog" by Stephen Hollen, Appalachian storyteller, humorist, and poet.

Mother Doesn't Want a Dog

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they smell,
And never sit when you say sit,
Or even when you yell.
And when you come home late at night
And there is ice and snow,
You have to go back out because
The dumb dog has to go.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they shed,
And always let the strangers in
And bark at friends instead,
And do disgraceful things on rugs,
And track mud on the floor,
And flop upon your bed at night
And snore their doggy snore.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
She's making a mistake.
Because, more than a dog, I think
She will not want this snake.

"Mother Doesn't Want a Dog" by Judith Viorst, author of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.


  1. Great poems. Your dogs are beautiful. These poems were especially touching for us, we have an 18 yr. old Australian Sheperd "Molly", who is our old dog.

  2. oh. Oh, I'm crying :( Old dogs break my heart!

  3. I've been meaning to stop by since I see you around blog land a lot. I really love these poems, especially since my heart dog is growing old and I've had to come to terms with that recently. Thank you. These poems really resonate with me.


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