(22 January 1997- 16 August 2011)

“Trod with a lighter tread.” –W.B. Yeats

You sniff the earth and air
for those who’ve travelled
this way before,
rushing headlong
toward who knows what,
then dragging behind
intent on a mystery
embedded between blades
of grass.

The jump and prance of play,
you bow, stretching, then leap,
chase a ball,
tug and growl at length of rope,
mock snap and charge
at my dancing hands
swirling about your head.

One by one
you left games
until only a nod
at their presence,
of the memory.

Yet you walked
where you willed,
slipped away for sojourns,
even on your last day
a brief gambit
between fence lines.

When reduced to breath,
a staggering stand
then sunken prone with pained voice
you ran ahead of us again
and laughed

just beyond our reach.


13 thoughts on “Jasper

  1. Gotta love the playfulness of our canine friends. This was fun to read, Matt. And the quote you opened with is a nice reminded not to take ourselves seriously.

  2. Like they say, if you want a friend, get a dog. They are the best, and always there for us, even in memory–they are the ones that deserve a heaven. Good one Matt.

  3. This is a remarkable poem. It is poignant but at the same time not sentimental, a fine tribute to a loved and happy dog. My dog is getting old so I especially liked the reference to the “memory” of past games. My dog hasn´t the energy for anymore for wild games and long walks but I do my best to make sure she has these memories and at least feels excitement and joy.

    I am sorry for your loss but as you said, departed friends travel with us still.

  4. a beautiful, loving tribute, Matt.

    i saw that Amy {Sharp Little Pencil} mentioned the Rainbow Bridge ~ in case you’re not familiar with it:

    Even if your beliefs are different, I hope the promise of reunion will bring you some comfort ~

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge…
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them; who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    I am so sorry for your loss. *hugs to wrap around your heart until the sadness lessens*

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