Lines For A Labrador

Nick when young

He was, they said, below the usual size,
A pigeon-chested specimen, and so
He would not possibly have won a prize
Had he been ever entered in a show.

The slightest word, at first, would make him jump –
 A previous master was a martinet.
 With us he grew grey-jowled, a bit too plump,
 And ended his career a perfect pet.

Yet, all the same, he never seemed to shed
The memory of his training to the gun;
The house was always loud with cries of ‘Dead!’
He picked up everything that could not run

And, off on walks, he raced around non-stop
Returning tired, all mud and wet black hair,
To chomp his evening bowlful and then flop,
Rubbed down and cheerful, by his favourite chair.

We still can hear his long luxurious yawn,
His tail thump briefly when his name was said
Or creak a welcome to those up at dawn
Against the wicker edges of his bed.

He might abscond now with the costliest shoes
And let them rot to pieces in the rain
If that could void his grave beside the yews
And bring him back into our life again.

Jerome Betts

Nick when old

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Jerome Betts  would be pleased to hear them.