Thomas Aird

The Shepherd's Dog

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Loved and loving, God her trust,
The Shepherd's Wife goes dust to dust.
Their Dog, his eye, half sad, half prompt to save,
Follows the coffin down into the grave.
Behind his man he takes his drooping stand.
The clods jar hollow on the coffin-lid:
Startled he lifts his head;
To that quick shudder of the master's pain,
He thrusts his muzzle deep into his hand,
Solicitous deeper yet again.
No kind old pressure answers. Shrinking back,
Apart, perplexed with broken ties,
Yet loyal grave-ward, down he lies,
His muzzle flat along the snowy track.
The mourners part: The widowed Shepherd goes
Homeward, yet homeless, through the mountain-snows.
Him follows slowly, silently,
That Dog: what a strange trouble in his eye,—
Something beyond relief!
Is it the creature yearning in dumb stress
To burst obstruction up to consciousness
And fellowship in Reason's grief?

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Thomas Aird