Literary Dog Poem “Lady and the Tramp” by Bruce Guernsey

There was a lovely, sad, moving dog poem for last week’s American Life in Poetry, which is a shareable item, so I’d really like to share it with you all. Let me know if you’d like to see more, and I’ll scrounge up some more shareable pet poetry items. The text of American Life in Poetry (which is offered free of charge to publishers of Newspapers and other textual items, is reproduced in its entirety here, as is required its publishers ( Blessings.

American LIfe in Poetry: Column 139
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006Man’s best friend is, of course, woman’s best friend, too. The Illinois poet Bruce Guernsey, offers us this snapshot of a mutually agreed upon dependency that leads to a domestic communion.

The Lady and the Tramp

As my mother’s memory dims
she’s losing her sense of smell
and can’t remember the toast
blackening the kitchen with smoke
or sniff how nasty the breath of the dog
that follows her yet from room to room,
unable, himself, to hear his own bark.

It’s thus they get around,
the wheezing old hound stone deaf
baying like a smoke alarm
for his amnesiac mistress whose back
from petting him is bent forever
as they shuffle towards the flaming toaster
and split the cindered crisp that’s left.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2007 by Bruce Guernsey, whose newest book, “New England Primer,” published by Cherry Grove Collections (WordTech Communications) is due out in 2008. Poem reprinted from “Spoon River Poetry Review”, Vol. XXVI, no. 2, by permission of the author. Introduction copyright (c) 2007 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Photo: Terry Bain

9 Responses to “Literary Dog Poem “Lady and the Tramp” by Bruce Guernsey”

  1. shibadiva says:

    Thank you for that lovely poem.

  2. Nora and Rufus says:

    That will be Rufus and I someday. More please.

  3. Sharon says:

    I love it. Thank you.

  4. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    What a word picture that painted, and the photo illustrates it so beautifully. Thank you — yes, we would enjoy more.

  5. Terry Bain says:

    Good to hear. I will track them down. Every. Single. One.


  6. Melanie Brakeville says:

    Thank you for this poem. I would love to have more like it!

  7. PatM says:

    Very nice. That was in our daily paper as well. Thank you!

  8. Bonnie McDermott says:

    I would love more!!! I am crying right now. I wanted this to be me and my dog, Smoky. On Monday, she had an eye removed due to a growth. Results are pending until Friday. She is twelve and I am not elderly yet. Your poem is so moving. Thank you.

  9. Jenny Bark says:

    Thank you. I loved the poem. Yes I would like more.

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