A Birthday Poem for a Dog

Brown as a November tree,
Lightfoot as a leaf wind-blown,
Gissing stands and stares at me
Asking that a stick be thrown.

Cider-coloured are his eyes,
Fierce and anxious, bright as flame —
Mumbling stones, he whines and tries
To persuade me to a game.

After breakfast, on clear days
Gissing sings his morning song:
Barks for me to come — his craze
Is to hunt sticks all day long.

Wide he spreads his naily paws
Ready either way to run —
Like a V his gaping jaws,
Grinning with expected fun.

He's excitable and young
And he loves companionship;
Pink and slidder droops his tongue
With a bubble at the tip.

I believe that if I could
Throw sticks for him all day through
(All the sticks in Roslyn Wood)
Still he'd bark and still pursue.

So I will not be a tease —
There! The longed-for stick is thrown —
See him scud among the trees
Like a leaf by winter blown!
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