This has been one of my favorite poems for a couple of years now, ever since my best friend Tucker came into my life.
by Jane Kenyon
The dog has cleaned his bowl
and his reward is a biscuit,
which I put in his mouth
like a priest offering the host.
I can't bear that trusting face!
He asks for bread, expects
bread, and I in my power
might have given him a stone.
Tucker spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at daycare. I take him there a few days a week during the school year so he can play and socialize with other dogs, rather than sit and sleep on his little doggie-bed all day long, but he’s very sensitive and now that I’m not going to work every day, his routine is thrown off. So I took him to daycare and plan on taking him every other week or so, just so he doesn’t get too out of whack. I’d take him more often, but it’s a 45 minute drive and I’m not getting paid during the summer, so a couple of days every other week is the best compromise.
Anyway, this poem is as true a poem as I’ve ever read. The dog has complete and utter trust in his owner, and so he truly believes that all his owner would give is something good. Tucker is the same. He doesn’t waste time looking at what I’m giving him; he simply opens his mouth and gobbles down whatever was in my hand. If I chose to put a rock in my hand, he would probably eat it without thinking twice.
I’ve wondered if this poem is an allusion to Cronus and how he was tricked into swallowing a rock, which gave birth to Zeus (and the other Titans). This could simply be a coincidence, but I like the idea that there’s something epic about this poem.