To A Terrier

(Adapted from "To a Skylark" by Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Subscribe to this site on YouTube

Follow this site on Facebook

Follow this site on Instagram

Follow this site on Twitter

HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!
Dog thou never wert --
That from my door or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Louder still and louder
From thy throat it sparkest,
Like a clap of thunder;
Outside my home thou parkest,
And barking still dost stay, and staying ever barkest.

In the golden light'ning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
Thou dost woof and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even
Sets off your terrier white;
Thank God there aren't seven
In the broad daylight.
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight:

Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Although we cannot see, we hear that you are there.

All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow'd.

What thou art we know not;
Thou art not a hound.
From thunderheads there flows not
Such a boisterous sound,
As from thy presence showers--a nuisance all around:

Like a poet hidden
From the light of thought,
Writing trash unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with sufferers it heeded not:

Like a low-born tom cat
On a garbage heap,
Sending his love-laden
Howls hideous and deep,
Meows so full of yearning, none of us can sleep:

Like an earth-worm buried
In a clump of soil,
Scattering unbeholden
The products of its toil
Among the cakes and sandwiches we wrapped up in tin foil:

Like a crap embower'd
In a bed of leaves,
By warm winds deflower'd,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint the hearts of the most harden'd thieves.

Sound of vernal showers
On the thin wood roof,
Rain-awaken'd hours
With vodka 90 proof,
Joyous and clear and fresh--doth inspire this spoof.

Teach us, sprite or dog,
What brave thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth such flood of yowl and whine.

Chorus hymeneal,
Or triumphal chant,
Match'd with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt--
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy snappy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what urine-haunted lane?

With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Though shadows of annoyance
Often follow thee:
Thou barkest, but ne'er knew barking's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such an endless stream?

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet, if we could scorn
Hate and pride and fear,
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy exuberance we ever should come near.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Is the peace and quiet when you're not around!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know;
Such cacophonous madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should stop its ears, as I wish I could now.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon. Free for personal or non-commercial use.

[about this site] [poems for free] [poem of the week]
[site policy] [about me] [links]