A Dog’s Elegy
by Les Murray

copyright © 2001 by Les Murray

The civil white-pawed dog who’d strain
to make speech-like sounds to his humans
lies buried in the soil of a slope
that he’d tear down on his barking runs.

He hated thunder and gunshot
and would charge off to restrain them.
A city dog too alive for backyards,
we took him from the pound’s Green Dream

but now his human name melts off him;
he’ll rise to chase fruit bats and bees;
the coral tree and the African tulip
will take him up, and the prickly tea trees.

Our longhaired cat who mistook him
for an Alsatian flew up there full tilt
and teetered in top twigs for eight days
as a cloud, distilling water with its pelt.

The cattle suspect the Dog lives
but three kangaroos stood in our pasture
this daybreak, for the first time in memory,
eared gazing wigwams of fur.