A Verse Well Donne

by Pam Green , © 2003


Go and catch a vanished Scent,
News that's written on the trees.
Hear a ewe's unformed Intent;
Fetch her back before she flees.
Teach me what my dog is thinking,
As we share a gaze unblinking,
To find
Her mind
Courageous, beautiful, and kind.

Teach a Sheltie not to Bark ;
Teach a Basenji to Obey ;
Teach a Male dog not to Mark,
And a Predator not to Prey.
Teach me what my dog is thinking ,
As she rolls in something stinking,
And swear
Breathes there the Nose that finds this fair.

Teach a Labrador not to Swim,
A Terrier not to Excavate,
A puppy not to act on Whim,
Then teach me to submit to Fate.
Teach me to be Donne with Grieving,
Rebuke Death's pride, in Dog believing,
And dare
To care,
And give Her my heart and Soul to tear.




footnotes (for the Lit teachers) :

The inspiration , of course, is John Donne's "go and catch a falling star"

The first verse begins with some ways in which dogs have abilities that humans lack, then the wonder of the the loving connection between dog and human. The next verse is about ways in which dogs are different from humans in ways that are difficult for humans to change or even to understand. The last verse begins with more dog traits that are difficult to change, then segues into the deep mourning that comes from the loss of a deep love and then the hope to rise beyong grief to love another dog despite knowing that another bereavement lies in the future

(Note : some female dogs also mark. Note : it's possible to teach a Basenji to obey but you have to let the dog think he's training you , that he is out-smarting you. Note : it is possible to teach a puppy to be less impulsive. Note : a shared gaze is only going to be accepted if it's "soft-eyed" and there is trust between the dog and person ; hard stare is considered by a dog to be rude, challenging, and aggressive.)

The overall theme is the human love for dogs (so well reciprocated !) because of and despite the differences between our two species.




site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 8/10/03 revised 8/27/03, footnotes 2/29/2016
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