Copyright © 1997 Walt Zientek
(with apologies to Poe)
Once upon a midnight beery, as I sat there drunk and teary,
Reading Quarterlies and Digests, full of dogges of lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone quickly rapping, rapping on my hardwood floor.
"It's the heat pipes," I muttered, "tapping on my hardwood floor.
Only this and nothing more."
Ah, foggily, I recall it was a cold and dampish fall
And each separate leaf that fell, made my mind a living hell.
Eagerly I dreamed of spring. Rashly I had sought to bring
From my magazines of dogges- longing those that came before,
Nameless here for evermore.
Presently, my head was clearing, likewise was my suspect hearing,
"Hey," said I "My head is killing, show yourself I do implore!"
But the truth is I was napping and so gently you came tapping,
tapping on my hardwood floor.
That I wasn't sure I heard you. Quickly I scanned across the floor-
Doggy Hair and nothing more.
Thoroughly I checked my room, in the light and likewise gloom,
In there sat a stately dogge of the saintly days of yore.
Not the slightest whimper made he, not a timid look he gave me
But with air of something royal, sitting on my hardwood floor-
Sat and looked and nothing more.
There, this magic dogge beguiling my sad expression into smiling,
By the soft and kind expression on the countenance it wore,
"Though thy coat be short and harsh," I said, "You've come in from the marsh,
Ghastly, damp and regal Dogge, wandering from the Nightly Shore.
Tell me what thy Lordly name is, since you've entered through my door."
Quoth the dogge said, "LABRADOR."
Much I marveled this dogge dear, to hear the discourse so clear,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet blessed with seeing dogge upon his hardwood floor-
Dogge or beast upon the polished wood of his chamber floor,
With such a name as "LABRADOR."
But the canine, sitting, sitting, lonely on that shining wood, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered, not a word was spoke or stuttered:
Till I scarcely muttered, "Other dogges have gone before!
Come tomorrow you will leave me, as the ones who came before!"
Then the dogge said, "LABRADOR."
And that canine, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the polished wood of oak that makes my chamber floor.
And his eyes hold all the dreaming of a heart that's true, not scheming.
And the firelight, oer him streaming, throws his shadow cross the floor
And my soul from neath that shadow that lies floating on the floor,
shall be freed by "LABRADOR!"