Just A Dog

By Nora May French

So many times in those dark days,
    Instinct with sudden hope he crept,
(When sad, infrequent hands would raise
  The startled notes where sound had slept)
Seeking the voice he used to hear,
Close-crouching at his master's knees,
Hoping to find again the dear
  Familiar hand upon the keys.

In very truth there was a soul
  Behind his brown and faithful eyes.
There live some mortals, on the whole
  Less loving, tender, loyal, wise;
And though we give it to decay,
  His poor old body, worn and scarred;
Yet He who judges soul and clay
  Will give one dog his just reward.

And that would be to let him come
  Toward dim-heard music, far and sweet;
Seeking with eyes rejoiced and dumb;
  Seeking with swift, unerring feet,
With love supreme to guide him true,
  Across the misty ways of space,—
Until he found the one he knew,
  And looked into his master's face.

Footnote reads: "Of this poem, "Just a Dog," a letter says: "My cousin, who used often to play on the piano, died; and after his death his dog, when anyone touched the instrument, used to come from wherever he might be to see if the player were not his master. Then he would slink away again. The dog died after a few grieving months. I loved him, and made these verses."