Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Pardon by Richard Wilbur


The Pardon

My dog lay dead five days without a grave 
In the thick of summer, hid in a clump of pine 
And a jungle of grass and honey-suckle vine. 
I who had loved him while he kept alive  

Went only close enough to where he was 
To sniff the heavy honeysuckle-smell 
Twined with another odor heavier still 
And hear the flies' intolerable buzz.  

Well, I was ten and very much afraid. 
In my kind world the dead were out of range 
And I could not forgive the sad or strange 
In beast or man. My father took the spade  

And buried him. Last night I saw the grass 
Slowly divide (it was the same scene 
But now it glowed a fierce and mortal green) 
And saw the dog emerging. I confess  

I felt afraid again, but still he came 
In the carnal sun, clothed in a hymn of flies, 
And death was breeding in his lively eyes. 
I started in to cry and call his name,  

Asking forgiveness of his tongueless head. 
..I dreamt the past was never past redeeming: 
But whether this was false or honest dreaming 
I beg death's pardon now. And mourn the dead.

 

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