The Dog Star Pup Poem by Henry Herbert Knibbs

The Dog Star Pup

Rating: 2.7

On the silver edge of a vacant star near the trembling Pleiades,
A Hobo, lately arrived from earth sat rubbing his rusty chin,
All unaware, as he waited there with his elbows on his knees,
That an angel stood at the Golden Gate, impatient to let him in.

The Hobo, peering across the space on a million worlds below,
Started up as he heard a voice: 'Mortal, why ye wait there?'
He scratched his head as he turned and said, 'I reckon I got to go,
And mebby the goin' is just as good in Heaven, as anywhere.

A little while and the Hobo stood at the thrice-barred Golden Gate:
'Enter!' the stately angel cried. 'You came to a worthy end,
Though the sad arrears of your wasted years have occasioned a brisk debate,
You gave your life in a noble cause--you perished to save a friend.'

'Only me dog.' And the Hobo smiled, but the startled angel frowned
At that rack of rags that was standing there adorning the right-of-way:
'Him and me we was pardners, see! down there where the world goes round,
And I was waitin' for him to come--but mebby he stopped to play.'

'You are late,' said the angel, 'one year late!' The Hobo turned his head.
'Then who was holdin' the watch on me when I saved me pal? Was you?
Just figure it out, if me dog cashed in a-savin' me life, instead,
Now would n't he wait for his missin' mate till he seen I was comin' too?'

Sadly the angel shook his head and lifted the portal bar:
'One minute more and the Scribe will strike your name from the Roll Sublime.'
When up from below came a yellow dog a-hopping from star to star,
And wagging his tail as he sniffed the trail that his master had to climb.

Then something slipped in the scheme of things: a comet came frisking by,
A kind of a loco Dog-star pup just out for a little chase;
The yellow pup got his dander up and started across the sky,
As the flickering comet tucked his tail--and never was such a race!

Round the Heavens and back again flew comet and his dog, unchecked;
The Great Bear growled and the Sun Dogs barked. Astronomers had begun
To rub their eyes in a wild surmise that their records were incorrect,
When the puppy, crossing his master's trace, stopped short, and the race was done.

Singed and sorry and out of breath he mounted the starry trail,
And trotted to where his master stood by the gate to the Promised Land:
''T was a flamin' run that you gave him, son, and you made him tuck his tail,'
And the Hobo patted the puppy's head with a soiled but forgiving hand.

When, slowly the Gates dissolved in air and the twain were left along,
On a road that would through fields and flowers, past many a shady tree;
'Now this is like we'd 'a' made it, tike, an' I reckon it's all our own,
And nothin' to do but go,' he said, 'which is Heaven for you and for me.'

Heaven -- save that the Hobo felt a kind of uneasy pride
As he pushed his halo a bit aslant and gazed at his garments strange;
But the pup knew naught of these changes wrought since crossing the Great Divide,
For the heart of a dog -- and the love of a man -- may never forget or change.

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