Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Asking Forgiveness of His Tongueless Head


Richard Wilbur

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.


  1. wilbur poem and coach popovich's remarks were both very well said

  2. Now I see what you did—move the column. No preference here.
    Hiking is good. Did 20 miles with Wisdoc over Columbus/Indigenous Day. Actually reached a mileage limit.

  3. Thanks for Linky. Here, Indigenous Weekend coincided with 'Fleet Week', and the annual roar of jets flying a few hundred feet over my neighborhood. As I write this, I am handed a Big Yellow Sticky with a note: "Style vs. Content -- how to discern between the two & why this matters."