Recently I wrote about dogs and sheep, and in particular about “collie” dogs, known to many of us as sheepdogs. I enjoyed your comments and thought I might return to another poem about dogs. Although spoilt for choice, I have settled on a poem by Scott Cairns from his 2019 book New Poems. Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being in conversation as a student in a summer class led by Scott. Ponder this poem and pause as you sit with your dog or with the fond memory of a dog that was part of your life. I recall many years ago a parishioner said to me that I ought to have a dog, only then would I know something of the unconditional love of God! Not because of her words but in response to the persistence of a family member, we did enjoy the company of Sandy, a cocker spaniel for some 12 years.
My Dog and My God
My dog Sophia sits this evening watching me,
attending to my every move. I don’t move much.
She has been fed, and walked, and run, and now we sit,
amid my study’s clutter, within a sudden
stillness that obtains for us a momentary
meeting of the minds, quite like a conversation.
I love my dog, have loved my every dog, each being
his or her own, particular joy, and each,
by proving thus particular, becoming thus
beloved, has offered me a glimpse of how the God
may have deemed me loveable, if very often
disobedient, and very often reeking
of the death in which I’ve been inclined to roll. Scott Cairns
I rejoice in the joys of your creation
for mountain ridges and coastlines,
for herbacious borders and desert flowers,
for the night sky alight with moon and stars,
and for the sun’s light escaping the cover of cloud.
I rejoice in the swift beauty of the goldfinch and the
wonder of the slow deliberate movement of the manatee.
Above all for the friendship and companionship of ever
faithful and always forgiving pets. I am humbled
by their trust and delighted by their love.
Bless all pets and all who offer them
love and kindness. Amen.