Books > Old Books > Poetry Northwest (1959)


Page 13

Joseph Langland
Nine Poems from " Haruspicating on Valley --View Farm
SACRIFICE OF MY DOG, REX

When my dog came whimpering out of the hayfields,
Home from the mower's flickering sickle,
He lay on the floor of the fragrant haybarn
With the bleeding stub of his foreleg quivering,
The pool of convulsive death surrounding
His white submissive eyes.

I heard him shout when he flushed a rabbit
In the honeyed webs of red-white clover.
I caught the quarry on quarry flashing.
He'll get him, I sang, and then it got him.
I froze where I stood, till his dark blood, flowing,
Ran like a sword at my side.

He drank his wound, but that solemn supper
Gagged in his throat, and the tongue of comfort
Lay from his mouth. I had pulled a thorn from
The new-lost paw when I saw him suffer.
I had kissed that foot and washed and anointed
Him under my whispered care

And now it was lost in the fragrant hayfields
Where I ran out the honey of days in the clover;
And now he was going, that country greying
Under the edge of his eyes. Not knowing
Where then, or why, my small steps pointed
The trail of his blood with prayers.

They stumbled his death to his life for meaning,
Winding across the yard and the roadway,
Out to the grainfield and into the hayfield,
Until, somewhere, they were lost forever
In a crown of sun and a field of flowers,
And the ravenous sickle, reaping.

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