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Poetry Pleases: Dinah

Barbara Tregonning's moving poem expresses perfectly the strong ties between a man and his dog.

Stoic, forgiving, faithful,
Fur shagged with age,
Once sure canine feet Now limping, painful,
No longer fleet.

Yet the mind's eye sees you as before:
Pirouetting, yelping with joy
In the clouds of Mallee dust
Behind the vineyard implements;
And I no more
Myself a younger man, am wiser grown;
I read you well.
As I watch you lie, twitching in sleep,
My heart can tell
That dreaming, still you keep
Tryst with the roaring tractor -
Brash rabbits, fleeing through the vines -
Or cheeky willie wagtails,
Their sport to tantalise
Gullible old warriors, past their prime.

Still, my companion of sixteen summers,
I can call you mine,
Part of my intimate circle.
The car rolls in from town;
Come storm or shine
There you are, tail wagging
Led by your younger sister.
Jubilant, noisy committee of two.
What can I do
To ease you in your twilight?

I swing my legs around, turn off the key, Pat your rough old head -Noting how hard you struggle For your paws to reach my knee.

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