Edmund Vance Cooke

(1866-1932 / USA)

Rags


We called him 'Rags.' He was just a cur,
But twice, on the Western Line,
That little old bunch of faithful fur
Had offered his life for mine.

And all that he got was bones and bread,
Or the leavings of soldier grub,
But he'd give his heart for a pat on the head,
Or a friendly tickle and rub

And Rags got home with the regiment,
And then, in the breaking away-
Well, whether they stole him, or whether he went,
I am not prepared to say.

But we mustered out, some to beer and gruel
And some to sherry and shad,
And I went back to the Sawbones School,
Where I still was an undergrad.

One day they took us budding M. D.s
To one of those institutes
Where they demonstrate every new disease
By means of bisected brutes.

They had one animal tacked and tied
And slit like a full-dressed fish,
With his vitals pumping away inside
As pleasant as one might wish.

I stopped to look like the rest, of course,
And the beast's eyes levelled mine;
His short tail thumped with a feeble force,
And he uttered a tender whine.

It was Rags, yes, Rags! who was martyred there,
Who was quartered and crucified,
And he whined that whine which is doggish prayer
And he licked my hand and died.

And I was no better in part nor whole
Than the gang I was found among,
And his innocent blood was on the soul
Which he blessed with his dying tongue.

Well I've seen men go to courageous death
In the air, on sea, on land!
But only a dog would spend his breath
In a kiss for his murderer's hand.

And if there's no heaven for love like that,
For such four-legged fealty-well
If I have any choice, I tell you flat,
I'll take my chance in hell.

Submitted: Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Rags by Edmund Vance Cooke )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Dickinson

239

"Heaven"—is what I cannot reach!
The Apple on the Tree—
Provided it do hopeless—hang—
That—"Heaven" is—to Me!

...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet John Burroughs

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]