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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. The Dog Lovers , Spike Milligan
  3. 3. Mother Doesn'T Want A Dog , Judith Viorst
  4. 4. The Dog , Ogden Nash
  5. 5. Happy Dog , Flying Lemming
  6. 6. The New Dog , Linda Pastan
  7. 7. Epigram Engraved On The Collar Of A Dog .. , Alexander Pope
  8. 8. What The Dog Perhaps Hears , Lisel Mueller
  9. 9. The Power Of The Dog , Rudyard Kipling
  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. The Dog And His Master , Anne Kingsmill Finch
  14. 14. Abandoned Dog , Robert William Service
  15. 15. Walking The Dog , Howard Nemerov
  16. 16. The Dog Of Art , Denise Levertov
  17. 17. An Elegy On A Lap-Dog , John Gay
  18. 18. I Started Early - Took My Dog , Emily Dickinson
  19. 19. To Flush, My Dog , Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  20. 20. To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannere.. , Sir Walter Raleigh
  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. A Dog With Six Names , Arsiema Berhane
  30. 30. The Shepherd's Dog , Mary Darby Robinson
  31. 31. Happy Dog 2 , Flying Lemming
  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. (300) Our Dog (Blaze) , Melvina Germain
  35. 35. 0204 Every Dog Will Have His Night , Michael Shepherd
  36. 36. Me, My Dog, And The Beach , Karen Curcio
  37. 37. Clowns, Butterflies, Dog , Arthur Knackmus
  38. 38. The Black Dog (Depression) , Dallas Nyberg
  39. 39. The Dying Hunter To His Dog , Susanna Strickland Moodie
  40. 40. The Bagman's Dog, : Mr. Peters's Story , Richard Harris Barham
  41. 41. 0027 Dog And Man , Michael Shepherd
  42. 42. Unfinished Landscape With A Dog , Kate Northrop
  43. 43. Ben's Dog , Sidi J. Mahtrow
  44. 44. My Dog Fred , Nadalia Bagratuni
  45. 45. These Dog Days Of Summer (Raining Cats A.. , Chuck Audette
  46. 46. My Dog , Robert William Service
  47. 47. Puppy Dog. , Bernard Shaw
  48. 48. Zz Border Collies Dilemma Or Lessons Of .. , Mary Havran
  49. 49. Unfortunate Dog Names , Chuck Audette
  50. 50. Dog Eat Dog (Limerick) , Kelly Kurt
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