My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.
Pablo Neruda (1904-73), the Chilean poet and diplomat, was no stranger to the death of friends and the value of loyalties. He observed and recorded the Spanish Civil War, and was at one time exiled from Chile for his political leanings. These are a very few words to suggest this man's many adventures and many hard-won wisdoms.
When you read his poem "A Dog Has Died," you may see how the careful detachment of the politician doesn't cancel out loss. Neruda repeats that he will not speak of sadness or goodbyes, but at its heart, the poem is built out of just these things. He was well schooled in revealing the truths that were not permitted.
Some day 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.
It's a longish poem -- read it all here.