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A Dog Has Died - Poem by Pablo Neruda

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

So now he's gone and I buried him,
and that's all there is to it.


Translated, from the Spanish, by Alfred Yankauer


Comments about A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda

  • Rookie Eddie Saunders (6/2/2018 8:07:00 AM)

    It is lovely and so true to life: a dog's unquestioning, selfish less, unconditional love for his master. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rookie A. J. Grady (4/22/2018 12:25:00 PM)

    Poetry is difficult to translate.........even in the SAME language. This was a good translation. And my dog wasn't golden. He was black and white. And we never lived by the sea. We were landlocked in Iowa. But this poem still reminds me of my two favorite dogs. In English........and in Spanish. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Marne Carmean (4/20/2018 7:08:00 PM)

    Only Neruda has the humility to write a poem to and about his dog. (Report) Reply

Read all 87 comments »

Poems About Dog

  1. 1. A Dog Has Died , Pablo Neruda
  2. 2. Mother Doesn'T Want A Dog , Judith Viorst
  3. 3. The Dog Lovers , Spike Milligan
  4. 4. The Dog , Ogden Nash
  5. 5. Happy Dog , Flying Lemming
  6. 6. What The Dog Perhaps Hears , Lisel Mueller
  7. 7. The New Dog , Linda Pastan
  8. 8. The Power Of The Dog , Rudyard Kipling
  9. 9. Epigram Engraved On The Collar Of A Dog .. , Alexander Pope
  10. 10. Verse For A Certain Dog , Dorothy Parker
  11. 11. An Elegy On The Death Of A Mad Dog , Oliver Goldsmith
  12. 12. Tom's Little Dog , Walter de la Mare
  13. 13. Abandoned Dog , Robert William Service
  14. 14. The Dog And His Master , Anne Kingsmill Finch
  15. 15. I Started Early - Took My Dog , Emily Dickinson
  16. 16. An Elegy On A Lap-Dog , John Gay
  17. 17. To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannere.. , Sir Walter Raleigh
  18. 18. To Flush, My Dog , Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  19. 19. The Dog Of Art , Denise Levertov
  20. 20. Walking The Dog , Howard Nemerov
  21. 21. The Ballad Of M. T. Nutt And His Dog , Banjo Paterson
  22. 22. My Dog , Marchette Chute
  23. 23. Hot Digitty Dog , Robert William Service
  24. 24. Red Dog , Rudyard Kipling
  25. 25. A Dog Of Few Words , Ima Ryma
  26. 26. Morgan's Dog , Banjo Paterson
  27. 27. ! Three Persons And A Dog And Loyalty , Michael Shepherd
  28. 28. Homer's Seeing-Eye Dog , William Matthews
  29. 29. Happy Dog 2 , Flying Lemming
  30. 30. A Dog With Six Names , Arsiema Berhane
  31. 31. The Shepherd's Dog , Mary Darby Robinson
  32. 32. 0409 The Postman And The Dog, Or Plato's.. , Michael Shepherd
  33. 33. A Lost Boy And His Dog , Joseph T. Renaldi
  34. 34. The Black Dog (Depression) , Dallas Nyberg
  35. 35. (300) Our Dog (Blaze) , Melvina Germain
  36. 36. 0204 Every Dog Will Have His Night , Michael Shepherd
  37. 37. Me, My Dog, And The Beach , Karen Curcio
  38. 38. Zz Border Collies Dilemma Or Lessons Of .. , Mary Havran
  39. 39. Clowns, Butterflies, Dog , Arthur Knackmus
  40. 40. The Dying Hunter To His Dog , Susanna Strickland Moodie
  41. 41. The Bagman's Dog, : Mr. Peters's Story , Richard Harris Barham
  42. 42. A Dog Named Sex , Carl Palmer
  43. 43. 0027 Dog And Man , Michael Shepherd
  44. 44. Unfinished Landscape With A Dog , Kate Northrop
  45. 45. My Dog Fred , Nadalia Bagratuni
  46. 46. Dippy The Dog , Charles M Moore
  47. 47. These Dog Days Of Summer (Raining Cats A.. , Chuck Audette
  48. 48. My Dog , Robert William Service
  49. 49. Puppy Dog. , Bernard Shaw
  50. 50. Unfortunate Dog Names , Chuck Audette
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