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Old Friend

By John I. Blair

Every love brings heartbreak in its wake,
And yet we choose to love again and yet again,
As if we need it so
The pain can be withstood or be forgotten.
And so we took you home with us
One day these many years ago.
We'd found you in a cage, but so alive and full of joy
You bowled us over with sheer force of self,
So much we could not leave you
But held you close and loved you then and there.
Afterward we came to know
Your fear of thirst and loneliness,
The consequence of casual neglect
In puppyhood and soon resolved
With cozy corners, tip-proof bowls
And many hours of being with us.
How high you jumped then!
But puppyhood and youth are not forever.
Years passed and years again;
You gradually acquired the pains of age,
But still enjoyed your people, home and food
And knowing what each day would bring.
And at the last, when age gave daily pain,
You still had your place
Of comfort and security and peace,
So when the end arrived it was as if
You laid down your head for one more summer's nap
And just forgot to wake for dinnertime.
Sometimes we think that we should not
Have welcomed you into our hearts,
Knowing you could never be the center of them,
But then remember how each glance
From your great dark-brown eyes
Was filled with love and trust
And endless faith that we would not forget you.
And you were right.


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