Frances





You were a dog, Frances, a dog,

And I was just a man.

The Universal Plan,--

Well, 'twould have lacked something

Had it lacked you.

Somehow you fitted in like a far star

Where the vast spaces are;

Or like a grass-blade

Which helps the meadow

To be a meadow;

Or like a song which kills a sigh

And sings itself on and on

Till all the world is full of it.

You were the real thing, Frances, a soul!

Encarcassed, yes, but still a soul

With feeling and regard and capable of woe.

Oh yes I know, you were a dog, but I was just a man.

I did not buy you, no, you simply came,

Lost, and squatted on my door-step

With that wide strap about your neck,--

A worn one with a huge buckle.

When bigger dogs pitched onto you

You stood your ground and gave them all you had

And took your wounds unwhimpering, but hid them.

My, but you were game!

You were fine-haired

And marked with Princeton colors,

Black and deep yellow.

No other fellow

Could make you follow him,

For you had chosen me to be your pal.

My whistle was your law.

You put your paw

Upon my palm

And in your calm,

Deep eyes was writ

The promise of long comradeship,

When I came home from work,

Late and ill-tempered,

Always I heard the patter of your feet upon the oaken stairs;

Your nose was at the door-crack;

And whether I'd been bad or good that day

You fawned, and loved me just the same.

It was your way to understand;

And if I struck you my harsh hand

Was wet with your caresses.

You took my leavings, crumb and bone,

And stuck by me through thick and thin.

You were my kin.

And then one day you died,

At least that's what they said.

There was a box and

You were in it, still,

With a sprig of myrtle and your leash and blanket,

And put deep;

But though you sleep and ever sleep

I sense you at my heels!





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