“Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean Communist poet and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda. Neruda wrote in a variety of styles such as erotically charged love poems, surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.” https://www.best-poems.net/pablo_neruda/index.html
It took 355 words to say, “that’s all there is to it.” No, Pablo, we both know there’s more to it. Grief doesn’t end with a burial.
A Dog Has Died
by Pablo Neruda
My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.
Someday I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.
Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.
No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.
Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.
Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.
There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.
So now he’s gone, and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.
My humble haiku response: No Goodbyes for My Dog
We may wash our hands
we may bury a body
but love will live on