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The civil white-pawed dog who'd strain

to make speech-like sounds to his humans

lies buried in the soil of a slope

that he'd tear down on his barking runs.

He hated thunder and gunshot

and would charge off to restrain them.

A city dog too alive for backyards,

we took him the pound's Green Dream

but now his human name melts off him;

he'll rise to chase fruit bats and bees;

the coral tree and the African tulip

will take him up, and the prickly tea trees.

Our longhaired cat who mistook him

for an Alsatian flew up there full tilt

and teetered in top twigs for eight days

as a cloud, distilling water with its pelt.

The cattle suspect the Dog lives

but three kangaroos stood in our pasture

this daybreak, for the first time in memory,

eared gazing wigwams of fur.

A Dog's Elegy

Les Murray

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translated from the Spanish written by
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