collection

Dog Poems

Our best friends teach us loyalty, recklessness, and caring.
Black and white image of a dachshund watching little Shih Tzus go by on the street.
Great Companions

Faithful dogs wait, at the window or the foot of the bed, with full devotion.

  • David Baker

    and now he's howling like a beagle – yips, brays,
             gagging growls – and scratching the sill paintless,
                  that's how much he's missed you, the two of you,  

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    But of thee it shall be said,
    This dog watched beside a bed
       Day and night unweary, —  

  • David Lehman

    For she does not lie awake in the dark and weep for her sins, and
    whine about her condition, and discuss her duty to God.

  • Pablo Neruda

    all his sweet and shaggy life,
    always near me, never troubling me,
    and asking nothing.

  • Alicia Ostriker

    Teeth into floating wood
    Then bound back to their owners
    Shining wet, with passionate speed

In Memory of Our Dog

A mourned family pet fill these poems with love and grief.

  • Frederick Eckman

    In late autumn the hound
    gone now ten years, has come

  • Daniel Groves

    My God, tomorrow’s ride . . . Well, here we are,
    right now. You stare at me and wag your tail.

  • Heather McHugh

    He’s gone to some
    utopos now, the dirty dog, doctor of
    crotches, digger of holes.

Strays and Rescue Dogs

These dogs get into messes and mischief—all while relishing their freedom.

  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti

    a real realist
    with a real tale to tell
    and a real tail to tell it with

    • Appeared in Poetry Magazine Dog
    Weldon Kees

    But now, my bark a ghost in this strange scentless air
    I am no growling cicerone or cerberus,
    But wreckage for the pound, snuffling in shame

  • August Kleinzahler

    Dogs cannot write. My mother told me this.
    As for his talk, well, I took no special notice.
    His love of the war poets was well known.

  • Gary Soto

    We find a dog, hungry and sad as a suitcase kicked open
    And showing nothing.

  • David M. Graham

    Oh yes, they were bad, my childhood dogs,

  • Katia Kapovich

    I rethink kicking him out,
    but being cool, I let him in.

  • Michael Collier

                and everyone understanding that once more Bosco
       had been taken over by the dark corner of his nature.  

Dog Stories

These fables provide allegories and lessons for dog owners and walkers.

  • Jane Kenyon

    Two hundred miles north I’d let the dog
    run among birches and the black shade of pines.

  • Ioanna Carlsen

              loyal to being on your own in the fur of your skin,
    able to exist only for the sake of existing. 

  • Cathryn Essinger

    every day I watch her using
    the yard’s big maple as the apex of a triangle

  • Marianne Moore

    We ought to be reminded of Aesop’s dog, who set out
    With a bone

  • David Kirby

                                                       I bet the Eighth Street Dog
    had been a movie star, because everything I read
    about movie stars suggests they can’t control themselves
    for more than five minutes. 

A Dog's Perspective

Do dogs hear the same songs we do? Do they understand us? Will we ever understand them?

  • John Brehm

    More than once I've seen a dog
    waiting for its owner outside a café
    practically implode with worry. “Oh, God,

  • Paul Zimmer

    The true strains rise only from
    the rich, red chambers of a canine heart,
    these melodies best when the moon is up,

  • Bob Hicok

    When I put my mouth to her ear
    and shout her name. She walks away.

  • Vincent Starrett

    If we had only learned to speak
    The tongue of dogs instead of Greek,