Nursery Memories

By Robert Graves 1895–1985 Robert Graves
I. – THE FIRST FUNERAL           
 
(The first corpse I saw was on the
German wires, and couldn’t be buried)
 
The whole field was so smelly;
    We smelt the poor dog first:
His horrid swollen belly
    Looked just like going burst.
 
His fur was most untidy;
    He hadn’t any eyes.
It happened on Good Friday
    And there was lots of flies.
 
And then I felt the coldest
    I’d ever felt, and sick,
But Rose, ’cause she’s the oldest,
    Dared poke him with her stick.
 
He felt quite soft and horrid:
    The flies buzzed round his head
And settled on his forehead:
    Rose whispered: ‘That dog’s dead.
 
‘You bury all dead people,
    When they’re quite really dead,
Round churches with a steeple:
    Let’s bury this,’ Rose said.
 
‘And let’s put mint all round it
    To hide the nasty smell.’
I went to look and found it—
    Lots, growing near the well.
 
We poked him through the clover
    Into a hole, and then
We threw brown earth right over
    And said: ‘Poor dog, Amen!’

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Poet Robert Graves 1895–1985

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Living, Death, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Pets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Robert  Graves

Biography

Robert Graves often stirred controversy in his endeavors as a poet, novelist, critic, mythographer, translator, and editor. Stephen Spender in the New York Times Book Review characterized Graves as a free thinker: "All of his life Graves has been indifferent to fashion, and the great and deserved reputation he has is based on his individuality as a poet who is both intensely idiosyncratic and unlike any other contemporary poet . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Death, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Pets

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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